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Land resumption of Choi Yuen Village for XRL high-speed rail, Hong Kong, China

The Guangzhou–Hong Kong high-speed rail (XRL) would destroy Choi Yuen Tsuen, a farming village of about 500 people. Journalists and activists joined in the protests against the resumption of land.


Choi Yuen Village was a small village situated on the flat land at Kam Tin, Yuen Long in the New Territories of Hong Kong SAR[1]. Its name was bestowed after the government had initiated the land resumption in 2008. "Resumption" means reassuming possession of lands.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Land resumption of Choi Yuen Village for XRL high-speed rail, Hong Kong, China
Country:Hong Kong SAR, China
State or province:Hong Kong
Location of conflict:Kam Tin, Pat Heung, Yuen Long, New Territories
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Express Rail Link (XRL)

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Project area:27
Level of Investment for the conflictive project10,810,000,000 for the whole railway line
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:500
Start of the conflict:11/11/2008
End of the conflict:30/04/2011
Company names or state enterprises:MTR Corporation Limited (MTR) from Hong Kong SAR, China
Relevant government actors:-Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:-Post-80s Anti-XRL (80 後反高鐵)
-Anti-express Rail Link Alliance(反高鐵停撥款大聯盟)
-Choi Yuen Village Concern Group (菜園村關注組)
-Choi Yuen Village Support Group (菜園村支援組)
-‘Local Action’ (本土行動)
-People’s Alliance for Minimum Wage (最低工資聯盟)
-Slow Development HK (香港慢慢發行動組)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local scientists/professionals
External independent activists, journalists and local peasant groups
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Refusal of compensation
Ascetic-style walk (苦行) = "prostrating walk" (苦行) imitating Tibetan pilgrims. (This is better explained in another EJAtlas case about the general controversy on the high speed Hong Kong railway line)
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Noise pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Specific impacts on women
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:Because Legco approved funding for the XRL project, Choi Yuen Village could not change its fate of demolition. On 21 February 2010, the residents of Choi Yuen Village submitted a proposal to construct Choi Yuen New Village.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:There was some compensation but: 1)People are forced to go into high-rise buildings and moving to Choi Yuen New Village, family members encountered distrust and inconsistency and some families were broken as a result. 2) The local residents engaged in a dispute over the land ownership of Choi Yuen New Village. 3) As a result of the land dispute, the construction work could not be completed before the land clearance was concluded at the original Choi Yuen Village in February 2011.4) People who moved to the New Choi Yuen Village protested again because of the poor infrastructures like roads and electricity.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

[9] Progress of the Hong Kong Section of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, Legislative Council Panel on Transport, Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways, 2009-09-17, CB(1)2582/08-09(01).

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[2]Lam, Y. C. (2015). Choi Yuen village land resumption and anti-express rail link movement in Hong Kong: a study of new social movements (Doctoral dissertation). p.68.


[5] Lam, Y. C. (2015). Choi Yuen village land resumption and anti-express rail link movement in Hong Kong: a study of new social movements (Doctoral dissertation). pp.69-73.

[8] Lam, Y. C. (2015). Choi Yuen village land resumption and anti-express rail link movement in Hong Kong: a study of new social movements (Doctoral dissertation). pp.80-81.

[1]Wikipedia: The Choi Yuen Village Case
[click to view]

[4]李俊妮, (2009). 「溫柔的尊嚴──菜園「村長珍」﹝石崗菜園村口述歷史計劃﹞」 , InMedia
[click to view]

[6]朱 凱 迪 , (2009). 「規 劃 師 : 非 原 居 民 不 應 是 廉 價 的 犧 牲 品 」 , InMedia.
[click to view]

[7]Hong Kong Express Rail Link controversy
[click to view]

[click to view]

[11]‘Discuss the XRL in the City’ 「『城』中熱話廣深港同樂日」 Event on 2009-10-03
[click to view]

[12]South China Morning Post. ‘Farm experiment born of Hong Kong express railway protest reaps rewards’ 2015-01-16
[click to view]

[13]起足5年未完工 菜園新村首辦導賞團
[click to view]

[14]The Hong Kong Institute of Land Administration (HKILA): A Review of the Approach in Land Acquisition of Choi Yuen Tsuen (CYT) for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) (Hong Kong Section) Project, and Recommendations for A Possible and Reasonable Approach in Land Acquisition in Future Government Projects
[click to view]

[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

‘Support the Effort by Enjoying the Mid-autumn Festival at Choi Yuen Village’《用溫柔支持抗爭 去菜園村過中秋》 Event on 2009-10-01
[click to view]

‘Happily Declining the Dissatisfactory XRL’ (高高燢興唱低高鐵音樂會) Event on 2009-12-09
[click to view]

Published on 10 Feb 2012

Choi Yuen Village 15:40 min. (Engl.)

Martin Krenn, 2009
[click to view]

Choi Yuen Village 15:40 min. (Engl.)

Martin Krenn, 2009
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA-UAB
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2908
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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