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  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 4:56pm
CommentInsight & Opinion

Hong Kong needs to prepare for mainland Chinese children with right of abode

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2012, 7:37am

A government has to know the community it serves if it is to do its job properly. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's administration has a good idea of what is needed for citizens living within Hong Kong's borders, but has its work cut out when it comes to children born in our hospitals to mainland parents. The excessively long lines of people lodging applications to kindergartens in Sheung Shui recently make plain how daunting the problem is. Many were from Shenzhen and at times outnumbered their local counterparts, but they had every right to be applying. Their sons and daughters are also citizens.

That our Basic Law guarantees that right and the associated benefits to every child born in our city, regardless of where their parents come from, is not always on the minds of Hong Kong people also trying to enrol their children. Some believe they should be given priority over families who do not live here. They question why non-residents should have education subsidised by taxpayers. The anger at having to compete with out-of-towners will likely be exacerbated if they are unsuccessful.

These are matters of concern for the government, especially as it does not know for sure how many Hong Kong-born children of mainland parents are likely to come here for education and to use public health services. They have increased our population by at least 170,000 since the highest court in 2001 upheld their right of abode. Their numbers will grow by hundreds a month until next year, when an order by Leung banning mainland women not married to Hong Kong men from giving birth in hospitals takes effect. It will be several years before the impact of the decision is felt.

Hong Kong cannot live with the uncertainty of unknown numbers of children needing education and health care. Leung has to ensure proper calculations and preparations are made. Private kindergartens swamped with demand may not worry, but parents on both sides of the border and public schools want - and need - to know.

But we also have to stop thinking of the Hong Kong-born children of mainland parents as outsiders. They have the same rights as local sons and daughters and have to be treated as such. It is in our every interest that we welcome them. They are a long-term solution to our problem of low birth and fertility rates and an ageing population. In them, just as with our own children, lies our city's future.

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Will.I.Am
Yup agreed! His predecessor Donald failed to do the job and the problem is already so bad in the NT now.
It's slowly creeping towards Kowloon and Hong Kong. When my child was warded in Queen Mary hospital, the staffs were overloaded with work.
There were so many Mainlanders (Both parents) that at one point in my daughter's ward of 6 beds, we were the only local.
There were so many different dialect spoken, I thought I was in China!
Kudos to the hospital staff as they were really struggling with heavy workload but still managed to get the job done!
lucifer
Oh, you are just figuring this out now?
The problem will not be their status (initially), but they will certainly consume resources in Hong Kong that are provided though taxes - to which their parents will not be making any contributions since they will not be in Hong Kong and cannot work in Hong Kong.
Furthermore, years down the road there will be in influx of Mainland raised HKID holders in their 20's who will come from further inland, probably with their wives and children in tow, and more likely that not, without a decent education, Cantonese or English language skills, and most likely will require some level of public assistance - and will have never contributed to Hong Kong at all in either labor or taxes.
There will be hundreds of thousands of these people arriving within a span of just a few years. Low birth rates are one issue for Hong Kong, but that is more about being able to afford a decent house to raise a family, than anything else.
yet the problems that these Mainland HKID holders are going to bring is going to not only cause a real mess, but it is likely to cause much social tension and anxiety. At some point you have to put your foot down and declare that we (as in HK) just cannot take it anymore and get serious about making some changes.

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