In June 2019 protests broke out over Hong Kong, opposing legislation proposed by the government of Hong Kong, which would allow local authorities to detain and extradite people who are wanted in territories that Hong Kong does not have extradition agreements with, including mainland China. Here is a quick look at how the protests have spread to Australia.
Lennon Wall in Melbourne
In July Australian-based Chinese political cartoonist, artist and rights activist Badiucao (巴丢草) kicked off a Lennon Wall in Hosier Lane in Melbourne.
Hi, Melbourne： I am calling everyone to join me and Australian-HongKong Link for creating #LennonWall in Hoseir Lane #Melbourne to support HKers fighting for their city's freedoms. See you this Saturday！
1. #撑港列侬墙在墨尔本 Poster is up in Melbourne in Hosier Lane. during my experience of street art，never got any trouble in hoser lane，but from very beginning，already got trouble with Melbourne council inspect， very llikely got intentionally reported by China trolls. pic.twitter.com/AxLY5oQslQ
Hundreds of post-it notes fluttered over the graffiti on Hosier Lane in central Melbourne on Saturday in a message of support to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
The notes are part of an art installation – Lennon Wall for Hong Kong, by Chinese-Australian artist and political dissident Badiucao – depicting Chinese leader Xi Xingping and Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam.
Badiucao invited people in Melbourne to leave messages of solidarity over his mural, similar to the “Lennon walls” – inspired by a Czech wall devoted to the late Beatles frontman John Lennon – that have sprung up across Hong Kong.
“I see Melbourne as my second home town, I really love this city and I want to contribute to it,” Badiucao said before Saturday’s event.
“I think Hosier Lane is a particularly good place, it is the pearl on the crown of Melbourne’s street art scene, it is also a place where I know tonnes of Chinese tourists will come every day.”
“Every photo on Instagram and social media will be the speaker for the Hong Kong people,”Badiucao said. Maybe, ultimately, it will help them in the long term as well. That is why I am calling on every Melbourne citizen to join me.
“I think it’s also a very beautiful thing to collect a message in a physical space. For people to exchange ideas. The form itself is very beautiful with all of the colours.”
The wall was soon covered with messages of support.
A pro-China rally planned for Saturday in Melbourne to condemn the clashes in Hong Kong has been postponed after a letter claiming to be an event permit from the Melbourne City Council was confirmed to be fake.
A well-known local Chinese media outlet, Australian Red Scarf, first announced the pro-Beijing protests in Melbourne on their WeChat account last Friday, accompanied by an image of a letter saying the council approved the “Support One China Principle” event to be held at the State Library in Melbourne.
On Wednesday, the ABC approached the Melbourne City Council about the letter — which claimed the council approved the pro-China rally — who then issued a statement on Twitter announcing that the letter was “fake”.
“The City of Melbourne does not issue permits for protests or demonstrations,” the statement read.
“However, we encourage anyone planning an assembly, demonstration or rally to let Victoria Police and the City of Melbourne know so that we can plan for any effects on parks, public places, streets and footpaths and notify affected businesses and services.
Fake Chinese police cars
By August 19 fake Chinese police cars were spotted at pro-Hong Kong rallies in Perth and Adelaide.
Authorities are investigating after fake Chinese police cars were spotted in Adelaide and Perth amid pro-Hong Kong demonstrations across Australia, but the owner of one of the cars has told police it was a “joke”.
In South Australia photos have surfaced of a car — bearing Chinese characters — parked at various spots around Adelaide’s CBD.
SA Police told the ABC it was aware of the vehicle’s current location and was investigating if it has been involved in any offences.
Police in Western Australia also confirmed they had received reports of a car with Chinese police markings.
“WA Police spoke to the driver of the vehicle who stated he purchased the decals online,” a spokesperson said.
And a 2017 footnote
Badiucao’s Lennon Wall isn’t his first public work in Melbourne – here is one from July 2017:
In 2016 an interesting conspiracy theory emerged in Hong Kong – would the new high speed rail link to Mainland China be used by the People’s Liberation Army to invade the Special Administrative Region?
On February 20 Hong Kong politician and social activist Lee Cheuk-yan asked about military use of the new railway at a meeting of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council.
Finance Committee of the Legislative Council
Minutes of the 34th meeting
Saturday, 20 February 2016, at 11:10 am
Use of XRL for military purpose
Mr Lee Cheuk-yan enquired whether the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison (“HK Garrison”) had the right to commandeer XRL for military purpose, and whether there was any passageway in the XRL’s Shek Kong Depot connecting to the Shek Kong Barracks of the HK Garrison. He opined that the authorities should provide a paper to explain the relationship between the Garrison Law and XRL.
Secretary for Transport and Housing (“STH”) advised that XRL was a civil railway and there was no passageway in the Shek Kong Depot connecting to the Shek Kong Barracks of the HK Garrison. He reiterated that the Garrison Law had clearly regulated the activities of the HK Garrison in Hong Kong.
High speed rail site at Shek Kong allegedly capable of transporting weapons
February 25, 2016
Another 「政治炸彈」(political bomb) of the high-speed rail is the Shek Kong military camp. The emergency emergency rescue station for the high-speed rail is located in Choi Yuen Tsuen next door to the Shek Kong military camp. After the completion of the high-speed railway, the Neo Democrats has questioned that this station can be used both for transporting troops and transporting weapons. Some mainland media also refer to the high-speed railway track as “military and civilian use.”
The Neo Democrats’ Tam Hoi Pong pointed out that the current Shek Kong military camp is used by the People’s Liberation Army. From the aerial camera, there are small roads connected to the military camp on the high-speed rail site, while the small road is less than 20 meters away from the military camp. The mainland military is used to use high-speed rail for military purposes.
The Neo Democrats said that it would raise relevant issues at the Finance Committee meeting of the Legislative Council, and oppose the additional funding of the high-speed rail. It does not agree to use the money of Hong Kong people to build a political bomb.
Finance Committee of the Legislative Council
Minutes of the 38th meeting
Friday, 26 February 2016, at 6:30 pm
Alleged Military Use of the XRL Project
Mr Gary Fan claimed that there was a linking rail at the Shek Kong train depot near the Shek Kong barracks and the rail seemingly led to the Shek Kong barracks. He queried whether or not XRL would be requisitioned by the People’s Liberation Army for military uses.
Secretary for Transport and Housing (“STH”) padvised that the Administration had stressed many times that XRL was purely a transport infrastructure for civilian use and there was no consideration for military use. Dr Philco Wong, Projects Director, MTR Corporation Limited added that the road link did not go to the Shek Kong barracks but to the power distribution station for the purpose of maintenance of facilities. The power distribution station and the Shek Kong barracks were separated by iron wires.
The story gained momentum, as seen in this piece published by 本土新聞Local Press on March 4:
The People’s Liberation Army newspaper acknowledged that high-speed rail is a military infrastructure used as a fast transporter
“Now News” quoted the “People’s Liberation Army Daily” report that when the high-speed rail was built, there were absolutely military considerations to quickly transport troops. In the event of a war, the high-speed rail will become a means of transport for soldiers, light armies, artillery and other equipment. The report can be described as the tail pillow after the ghost shot, confirming the reason why the Hong Kong people speculated that the high-speed rail Hong Kong section must be built, not rational economic development, but because of irrational military rule.
Which led to the official Hong Kong Government News Network to publish a Facebook post on March 9 to deny the rumours.
The Transport and Housing Bureau has clarified the inaccurate online claims and rumours and that there is no basis for any statement that the construction of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link may be related to military use.
High-speed rail can be personnel carriers? The Information Services Department said that there is no basis to the netizens post on the People’s Daily.
March 9, 2016
The Government News Network Facebook page uploaded a picture of a high-speed rail at 11 o’clock last night. The picture quoted the Housing Authority as saying that “the planning, design and construction of the high-speed rail section of Hong Kong is fully for civilian use and provides convenient cross-boundary transport services for passengers”
However, as soon as this post came out, the netizen immediately posted a message attached to the mainland official media “People’s Network” originally printed in the “People Liberation Army Daily” article entitled “Military transport security close to actual combat: to create a high-speed rail era “steel transport line”” report link The article includes “to avoid duplication of construction, the military agency focused on implementing the concept of military-civilian integration in the top-level design, embedding military functions in the construction of high-speed rail.” and other content to refute the government’s clarification.
The Information Services Department did not respond to the message, but many netizens commented on the government’s escort. Some people pointed out that “there is no need to use the railway. , waterways, aviation, the words are coming soon, and the People’s Liberation Army is protecting Hong Kong, transporting the People’s Liberation Army, and transporting the US Army or the Japanese Army!”
So could China use the high-speed railway to invade Hong Kong?
People’s Liberation Army deployments by high-speed train
China’s high-speed rail network has been available for the use of the People’s Liberation Army for some years.
The People’s Liberation Army refers to the rapid response of high-speed rail
May 25, 2012
The speed of development of high-speed rail in the Mainland has slowed down slightly since the Wenzhou train accident last year. However, many routes such as the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway are still open to traffic. It is still convenient for many people. The People’s Liberation Army disclosed for the first time that the high-speed rail was infiltrated with various military elements. Can be used to respond quickly.
The 1,318-kilometer-long Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway was opened to traffic last year, greatly shortening the transportation time between Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, Shanghai, etc., between the four provinces and three cities. This convenience is not only convenient for the people, the People’s Liberation Army Daily disclosed for the first time, the military is correct. Utilizing the advantages of high-speed rail, quick and convenient, the high-speed rail is positioned as an important way of strategic transportation in the future. Once a war occurs, the PLA can respond quickly according to the high railway line.
Traditionally, the military will use ordinary railway lines to transport heavy weapons such as tanks and missiles;
The high-speed rail is responsible for transporting soldiers, as well as light weapons such as rifles and recoilless guns.
The report also revealed that the national high-speed rail system has been integrated into military and civilian elements during design. In a short period of time, the civilian railway station can be turned into a military service, which greatly shortens the reaction time of the military. For example, in the expansion project of Nanjing Station, it used the war. The standard design allows the gate to be opened, allowing the soldiers to get on the platform as soon as possible.
The high-speed rail dispatching system is also transported to the military. The status of each train on the high-speed rail line is clear at the military transport dispatching center. If the PLA officers and soldiers enter the command in the system, they can control the high-speed rail system within ten minutes and join the military train on the line.
The People’s Liberation Army has also developed a gun rack that can be placed in the car box for the high-speed trains, the indoor space is larger than the traditional trains, and the structure is stable.
Because the doors on both sides of the high-speed rail can be opened at the same time, the military has developed a fast-moving and arranging array to improve the efficiency of getting on the train by 50%. So far, the high-speed rail has sent more than 43,000 soldiers to the destination on time.
At the beginning of May, the Nanjing Military Region tried to arrange a group of soldiers carrying light weapons to reach the destination by high-speed train. The soldiers could participate in the battle as soon as they arrived, increasing the PLA’s chances of winning.
High-speed rail transport: hundreds of troops from 52 minutes to 210 kilometers away from the “battlefield”
September 09, 2015
People’s Liberation Army Daily
Reporter Dai Wei, special correspondent Gao Jie
The military station of the Shanghai Railway Bureau is close to actual combat to improve the railway military transport support capability
In the midsummer season, a high-speed rail station in northern Jiangsu, a light-loaded force of hundreds of people, quickly boarded a high-speed rail train to a certain place in eastern Fujian. After 52 minutes, the light-loaded troops appeared in the “battlefield” 210 kilometers away, just like the gods and soldiers. Wang Pengyu, director of the Military Affairs Office of the Shanghai Railway Bureau, told the reporter: “‘China Speed’ has boosted the speed of military transport and achieved a rapid arrival in the battlefield.”
The soldiers are very fast. At present, the troops are frequently stationed in the field and non-war military operations. How to quickly and accurately transport the troops and personnel to each “battlefield” has become an urgent issue facing the party committee of the military representative office. It coincides with the opportunity of the great revolution and great development of the railway. The party committee of the military representative office has identified a rationale: “The railway is speeding up, and the military transportation guarantee must be closer to the actual speed!”
In order to avoid duplication of construction, the military agency focused on implementing the concept of military-civilian integration in the top-level design, embedding military functions in the construction of high-speed rail. At the beginning of the construction of the high-speed rail, they proposed the construction of the military service supporting system and sent engineering personnel to participate in the design of the high-speed rail construction plan. From platform construction to command and dispatch, more than 30 types of high-speed rail supporting facilities have been used by the military and civilians. It is reported that they have coordinated the construction plan of a station three times, and realized that as long as the connection port is opened during the war, several channels can directly reach the platform.
The military transportation dispatching command center of the military representative office also introduced the TIS transportation information system of the Shanghai Railway Bureau high-speed railway, and added the military dispatching function to realize the dual-use military and civilian use. The reporter opened the military dispatching program, and the status of each train on the high-speed rail line in the area of the railway, the vacant line and the adjustable dialing skin can be seen at a glance, and the transmission scheme can be automatically generated by simply inputting a command.
The military transport is a “pioneer” and the guarantee is to win. There are 11 high-speed railways such as Beijing-Shanghai and Nanjing-Hangzhou in the Shanghai Railway Bureau, with a total mileage of more than 2,600 kilometers, which provides a solid foundation for the speed of military transportation. At the beginning of 2014, the military representative office received an emergency military oil transportation mission, requiring tons of oil to be transported on the passenger dedicated line. They creatively used the nighttime Hanging-line transportation period, and adopted fixed-line locomotives, fixed lines, and fixed-line dedicated line pick-up operations. For the first time, military freight trains were opened on the passenger-dedicated lines, creating a precedent for the entire army. For the first time, the military representative office organized the door-to-door express transportation of military materials at the passenger station. For the first time, it temporarily added high-speed trains to organize the entire line of transportation. This series of active explorations effectively tapped the potential of the “steel transportation line” and opened up Military transportation is a new way.
Kai Tak Airport was once the international airport for Hong Kong, with the single runway and eight jetbridges somehow handing 30 million passengers and 1.5 million tonnes of freight per year, before it was replaced by the current Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok in 1998. This diagram from 1988 shows how constrained the terminal building was.
Upon the completion of Stage 4 development of the passenger terminal building in 1981, a study of the capacity of various facilities in the passenger terminal building revealed the need for the further expansion of the terminal to cope with air traffic forecast in the early 90s. The Stage 5 development of the terminal was commenced in 1984 and completed in 1988, increasing the design capacity to 18 million passengers per annum by adding terminal parking facilities, check – in counters and baggage reclaim units.
In 1987, to cater for the strong increase in air traffic at Kai Tak during its remaining life before the availability of the replacement airport, another series of expansion and improvement projects initiated. In 1991, Terminal 2 of the Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminal was commissioned providing an annual air cargo handling capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per annum. In 1992, the expansion of the East Apron which provided 4 additional parking bays for B747 – 400 aircraft and a general aviation aircraft parking area were completed. Finally, in 1994 an expansion of the South Apron provided 11 more parking bays for B747 aircraft. The design capacity of the airport reached 24 million passengers per annum.
In 1996, the Kai Tak Airport reached an important milestone when it handled 29.5 million international passengers and 1.56 million tonnes of international cargo making it the third busiest Airport in the world for international passengers and first in the world for international cargo throughput in the world.
Hong Kong’s Peak Tram has two tramcars, but only one track – so how do they pass each other on the way up Victoria Peak?
Going for a ride
The Peak Tram is a funicular system with two trams in operation at all times, balancing each other on a single haulage cable that leads from the winding house at the top of the incline. The cable means both trams move at the same time, one moving upwards, the other downwards.
There is only one track at the bottom station.
And a single track at the top.
But the magic happens in the midpoint of the incline, where there is a passing loop.
So how does the passing loop work?
There are three different ways to build a funicular railway:
Two parallel straight tracks, with separate station platforms for each vehicle. The tracks are laid with sufficient space between them for the two cars to pass at the midpoint. Conventional rail wheels are used.
Two parallel tracks, spreading apart at the midpoint to allow trains to pass, but with a shared rail elsewhere to save on materials and space. Conventional rail wheels are used.
Two interlaced tracks, spreading apart at the midpoint to allow trains to pass, but shared elsewhere to save on materials and space. Special double-flanged wheels are used, to pass through the special pointwork installed at each end of the pointwork.
Carl Roman Abt described the “automatic turnout” solution he used at Giessbach in a sequence of very detailed articles published in 1879.
His solution was characterized by abandoning the long-standing paradigm that railway car wheels must have the wheel flanges on the inside of the rails. At Giessbach one car was guided by external wheel flanges; the other car had internal wheel flanges like those of normal railway cars.
This arrangement made passage over the turnout automatic. Abt’s design also required additional guidance slips, and the upper and lower switches had to be different.
However Abt’s Giessbach design had some problems. The cars’ passage over the switches was bumpy, and this frequently caused loose bolts on the rail at the rail connections.
As well as the improved design used today:
Abt’s improved solution employed two wheel flanges on the outer wheels on the outboard side of each passenger car as it traversed the turnout.
This allowed for an uninterrupted guidance rail on the outside of the turnout and larger passages for the cable and the cog rail crossing the inner rails. The inner wheels were purely cylindrical without flanges, allowing for smooth passage over the turnout.
This solution is what is still referred to as the “Abt Switch” – a short passing turnout track with no moving parts. It was first employed in the funicular of Citta-Stazione (Lugano Switzerland) in 1886.
The wheel flange configuration can be seen here: “left” tram above, “right” tram below.
On the lower part of the line two steel rails of 35lb. per yard are laid, of 5ft gauge, and forming a single line; and on the upper half three rails are laid, forming a double line. Half way is a cross siding with four rails about 130ft long in the clear, having switches at the lower end. Cable guide pulleys are placed along the line at distances varying from three to eight yards.
Each carriage is fitted with two steel clip brakes, arranged to grasp the centre brake rail, and to act at all times, unless held out of action by the brakesman; also with a pair of steel clip brake to work on the 35lb. rails. The centre brake rail is of steel, weighing 66lb. per yard, and is laid between the ordinary rails. It is jointed and fixed to the sleepers with steel bolts and clamps.
So the five rails seen at the top of the line are three running rails, and two brake rails.
Presumably the 1989 Peak Tram upgrade made the separate brake rail redundant, so it was removed. But as for the rebuilt of the top section of the line as two-rail track – was it to make space for wider trams to carry more passengers, or just to save money on rails?
And the future
With the Peak Tram currently being rebuilt to provide extra passengers capacity, I wonder whether the track arrangement will be changed for a third time?
The Peak Tram service was maintained until the morning of 17 December 1941, when a bomb fell alongside the track near the Points House, severed the rope in several places and brought down all overhead equipment.
The end of the pantographs and overhead wire came in 1989, when the green Peak Tram cars were replaced by the modern articulated trams.
These cars have electric lights inside the passenger saloon, yet no obvious form of power supply exists, so I assume they use an onboard generator.
Did the different tram generations run together?
This 1925 photo appears to show a 1st generation Peak Tram car running with a trolley pole on the roof, which just raises more questions!
Were trolley poles introduced to the Peak Tram sometime between 1888 and 1926, or were the 1st generation tram cars refitted to work on the electrically operated haulage system after 1926?