Hong Kong mainland China driving scheme
The Hong Kong mainland China driving scheme (Chinese: 自駕遊計畫) is a cross-border driving scheme which allows drivers of cars with primary registration in mainland China to drive directly to Hong Kong. Currently, mainland cars have the driver seat on the left, while HK cars have driver seat on the right. Historically HK was a British colony before 1997, and adapted driving on the same side of the road as the United Kingdom.
While Hong Kong is a party to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, the PRC is not a party to the convention. As a result, prior to the introduction of this pilot scheme, Hong Kong vehicles have to apply for PRC's registration number plates to cross the border, and vice versa.
In the second phase, cars from the mainland will be allowed to enter Hong Kong. 50 mainland cars will be allowed to enter Hong Kong every day from the mainland, seven days a week. There cannot be a total of more than 350 mainland cars in the city. The 350 cars limit is expected to increase to 500 in the future.
On 7 February, the Civic Party launched a signature-collection drive in Wan Chai to see if people were against the new driving scheme. In just 90 minutes, over 1,200 signatures were collected in opposition to mainland drivers coming to HK. About 40,000 Facebook users were against the scheme. Legislative council member Tam Yiu-chung of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong is a supporter of the new policy. There were plans earlier by the HK government to control air pollution and reduce car counts in the city. This scheme seems to have contradict the government's own plan.
12 Feb protest
On 12 February about 300 people protested against the scheme. Transport secretary Eva Cheng tried to calm the local citizens by saying it was "just a trial scheme". This event has been tied to Kong Qingdong's comment about HK citizens being the British running dog during the Early 2012 Hong Kong protests.
19 Feb protest
On 19 February, about 1600 people protested in HK against the arrival of mainland drivers. About 22 non-government organisations participated. Some nicknames given the protest including: "suicide travel" (自殺遊) and "despicable travel" (賤格遊). The protest asked HK drivers to not fill any application to drive north into China. Doing so will be accepting the scheme thus betraying fellow HK citizens. The march started from Causeway Bay.
Also about 10 members of the pro-Beijing camp Liberal Party led by Miriam Lau took part in a small protest at the Legislative Council Complex against the second phase of the scheme. She said there are currently far too many cars that want to travel south (from mainland to HK), and there are liability problems. She wants to consider cancelling the second phase.
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- New entry plan for mainland cars, South China Morning Post, 9 February 2012.
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