Students protest proposed Hong Kong-China railway

Hong Kong - Hong Kong university students Tuesday began a three-day protest against an 8.6-billion-US-dollar proposed express rail link to China.

Students at six universities in the city of 7 million began demonstrated on campuses by kneeling down every 26 steps, in a reference to the length in kilometres of Hong Kong's section.

Organizers said they would continue their protest until Friday when the city's parliament will meet for a third time to decide whether to approve funding for the controversial rail link.

Opponents of the underground railway - reckoned to be the world's most expensive in cost per kilometre - say the cost is too high and that the money should instead be spent on poverty alleviation.

An estimated 8,000 people including villagers whose homes will be demolished to make way for the railway demonstrated at parliament on Friday.

The Beijing-appointed Hong Kong government insists the city will be marginalized if it does not go ahead with the railway and link up with the 16,000-kilometre national high-speed rail network.

Work on the railway is planned to be completed by 2015, around two years after work on the Chinese side of the border, if funding is approved at the end of Friday's debate.

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