Abode supporters want minister to intercede

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 June, 2006, 12:00am

Supporters of abode seekers yesterday called on Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung to aid their fight, as more than 700 parents of mainland-born children rallied on the seventh anniversary of Beijing's reinterpretation of the Basic Law.

The parents, many of them elderly, marched for hours under sweltering summer heat.

They began at Immigration Tower in Wan Chai and marched to Government House in Central. They then paraded to the Central Government Offices, where they chanted slogans pressing for a reunion with their children.

Two hours later they moved to Chater Garden and staged a five-hour sit-in.

Father Franco Mella, a supporter of the right-of-abode seekers' cause, noted that Mr Wong marched in 1999 with 600 other lawyers in opposition to the National People's Congress Standing Committee's reinterpretation of the Basic Law. The Standing Committee ruled that while the Basic Law said children of Hong Kong permanent residents had right of abode, they did not have abode unless one or other parent was a permanent resident when they were born.

Father Mella said Mr Wong should take responsibility for helping abode seekers.

'[Mr Wong] knows exactly how the reinterpretation affected our families,' Father Mella said. 'Why doesn't he say anything now for the people?'

Jackie Hung Ling-yu, project officer with the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese, agreed.

'Mr Wong has this important position as a secretary and certainly has the power to say a few fair words,' she said. 'He can publicly voice his opposition to the reinterpretation and talk to government officials to persuade them to help the abode seekers.'

A spokesman for Mr Wong said only that the minister had said from the time of his appointment in October that he did not want to see another interpretation of the Basic Law.

Lin Tao-cheng, chairman of the Hong Kong Parents Association for Fighting for Right of Abode, said they would seek to hand a petition today to Jia Qinglin , the visiting chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. 'We hope that Jia can talk to the Hong Kong government to open a channel for our adult children to apply to come to Hong Kong,' Mr Lin said.