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Hong Kong

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 11 May 1949

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New Civil Aerodrome

20.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is in a position to state when the new civil aerodrome in Hong Kong is likely to be finished and ready for use.

It has been decided in principle to proceed with the construction of a new airport on the shores of Deep Bay, but it is not yet possible to say when it will be ready for use.

Is it not a fact that this aerodrome has scarcely been started, although it has been well known for years that the Kai Tak aerodrome is one of the most dangerous in the world?

There has been considerable examination of this problem, but it is true that building has not yet begun.

In view of the aggravated threat from Communist armies approaching this place is it not time that something was done about this matter? Will the right hon. Gentleman speed it up in every possible way?

Legislature

23.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that the Hong Kong Legislature does not enjoy the confidence of a large and responsible section of the community; and if he will consider changes in the constitution of the Colony to permit of an elected Legislature.

No, Sir. As to the second part of the Question, as in all Colonies the constitutional position is constantly under review and, where necessary, steps are taken to bring it progressively into line with current needs.

Is it not a fact that at a recent meeting of the Reform Club in Hong Kong a statement about lack of confidence in the Legislature was agreed? Is not that having an effect in the slow recruitment for the Hong Kong Defence Force?

The slowness of constitutional change in Hong Kong arises from the apathy of the general public.

Chinese Repatriates

27.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware of the action of the Hong Kong Government in preventing Chinese deported from Malaya and Indonesia from landing at Hong Kong so that they may return to China and avoid the arrest which awaits them at Swatow or Amoy; by what authority such action has been taken; and if, in view of the fact that the military situation in Malaya necessitates deportation without trial, he will advise the Government to allow such deportees to land at Hong Kong.

Yes, Sir. Chinese repatriates from Malaya are sent direct to a Chinese port in accordance with international practice. The Hong Kong Government, for good reasons, does not permit their landing and I feel unable to interfere with the Governor's discretion in this matter. If the Hong Kong Government have prevented Chinese deported from Indonesia from landing there that too would clearly be within their discretion.

Would my right hon. Friend look again at the correspondence he has had about this matter from Bishop Hall, who is in a position to know the facts and the hardships and to regard them in an unbiased way, especially, in view of the importance of developing good relations with the victorious forces in China?

Certainly I will look at the correspondence, but I gathered that there had been no hardship.

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it would be the height of folly to allow these men to enter Hong Kong when for good reasons they have been deported from Malaya, and would he also agree that it is by no means certain that entry into Swatow is followed by arrest, as stated in the Question, and that the flow is now being adequately handled and no great hardship is being caused?