Hong Kong (CNN)Hong Kong lawmakers passed a controversial new bill Thursday allowing mainland Chinese laws to apply in a section of a new train station, despite protests by citizens and lawmakers.
Anger in Hong Kong over Beijing's legal jurisdiction in new train station
Although it is part of China, Hong Kong is governed under a separate legal framework granting the city political and legal freedoms not available on the mainland.
But a new $10.7 billion high-speed rail link between Hong Kong's Kowloon Peninsula, in the heart of the city, to the Chinese mainland cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou is set to test that legal independence.
To avoid an additional border check for passengers passing between the two territories, the Hong Kong government has granted approval for plans to allow a joint immigration checkpoint, that will see mainland laws given jurisdiction inside Hong Kong territory for the first time.
The new law will see a part of the station, as well as compartments of the trains traveling to and from mainland China, come under the jurisdiction of Beijing, deemed as "an area lying outside Hong Kong but lying within the Mainland for certain purposes," according to the legislation.
Since its return from British rule to Chinese control in 1997, Hong Kong has remained semi-autonomous, under a model of "one country, two systems."
The city's separate legal framework, known as Basic Law allows a much freer political system than the rest of mainland China, allowing semi-democratic elections and free right to protest.
But concerns surrounding the Chinese government's ability to operate with impunity in Hong Kong have increased in recent years, following the alleged forced abduction of a city bookseller.