In addition to the Qianhai Cooperation Zone, Shenzhen and Hong Kong have recently approved the Lok Ma Chau Loop, which will deepen integration of the two cities as well as displacing one of the few remaining nesting places for Black Face Spoonbills (黑面琵鹭) in the area. Also like Qianhai, the Loop was proposed a few years back, but only reached fruition as part of Shenzhen’s Thirtieth Year Anniversay. Three points.
First, the Loop is interesting both as a way of expanding usable land in and near Shenzhen’s Futian District CBD and as a strategy for developing an underdeveloped area of the New Territories. Indeed, the Loop points to shift balances in the region because back in the day, Shenzhen relied on the Central Government to negotiate with Hong Kong. Moreover, this balance has resulted from the increasing economic wealth of the Delta, which in many ways is more easily (if not more confidently) accessed from Shenzhen precisely because Hong Kong remains closed to Mainland Chinese in significant ways.
Second, the question of environmental protection continues to vex any and all attempts to intensify Shen Kong. The area has remained undeveloped for historic reasons. The Sino-British border was the Shenzhen River, which has shifted it’s course over the past 100 years with the result that the land belongs to Shenzhen but it falls under Hong Kong administration. Upside to the confusion? It has provided land for waterfowl to nest and breed. China is currently attempting to create low carbon development strategies and the Loop will be the first attempt for cross border collaboration. On that note, however, as Taiwan is actively trying to protect Black Face Spoonbills, Shenzhen might have considered another type of bi-city collaboration.
Third, the fact that Shenzhen continues to make key economic decisions as part of political commemoration reminds us of the extent to which development is not simply a matter of win-win negotiation. Instead, economic development and strategy express social values and ideals and hence should be evaluated in more terms than simply economic benefits per carbon emission. More starkly to the point: once there are no more nesting places for spoonbills in Shenzhen, then however low the emission to productivity ratio goes, we still end up with no spoonbill chicks.