Rejected abode seekers must accept court's final verdict

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 January, 2002, 12:00am

The current row over the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) ruling of January 10, is causing public unease and must be brought to a legitimate end.

Supporters of the belligerent right-of-abode seekers calling for justice and defence of human rights, must realise that the CFA judges carefully considered the letter of the law before passing judgment based on humanitarian grounds. Those who were refused leave to stay have a grace period till March 31, so they can celebrate Lunar New Year here. Then they will return to the mainland to apply for one-way permits to Hong Kong. Over the past two years, some 110,000 mainlanders have been granted right of abode by going through this proper channel.

Among the unsuccessful abode seekers, one caller to a radio phone-in programme described himself as middle aged, unemployed and supported by his elderly parents in Hong Kong, while his children left behind on the mainland were being raised by his working wife. His self-inflicted hardship cannot be seen as a genuine case of a family split by the law.

The right-of-abode seekers have been involved in a four-year-long struggle which is at an end. Attempts by any party to further pursue the case would not be in Hong Kong's best interest. The local media should not encourage abode seekers to take active steps to assert their rights. It is time to put across an optimistic and positive message.

Hong Kong's economy is in recession. We have high unemployment and a shortage of social facilities for those in need. To take the CFA and the Government to task at this point in time can only lead to more chaos in the community.

This will not be acceptable to all peace-loving Hong Kong people who cherish the rule of law which is the bulwark of our society.