Trial Guangdong residency urged for people from Hong Kong and Macau

Head of think tank tells CPPCC that the move would help integrate the region and create economic benefits

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 March, 2017, 8:08pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 March, 2017, 11:22pm

Beijing should launch a trial giving people from Hong Kong and Macau residency permits for Guangdong province, granting them the same public services as locals in education and health, said Chi Fulin, head of the China Institute for Reform and Development.

The move would be an important step in the economic integration of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau area, Chi said in a panel discussion with the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference on Sunday.

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Chi’s proposal follows Premier Li Keqiang’s annual work report, which pushed the concept of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau zone. It is designed to coordinate economic development in the area to tap into markets in Southeast and South Asia.

Chi also urged provincial authorities to offer incentives to encourage people from Hong Kong and Macau to start businesses in Guangdong.

Under the current rules, youngsters from Hong Kong are unable to attend mainland public schools because they have no hukou, or household registration.

People from Guangdong with children born in Hong Kong welcomed Chi’s proposal.

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“I really want the plan to come true, to let my daughter study in a public school in Shenzhen,” said Zhang Ying, a Shenzhen resident who has been travelling to and from Hong Kong every day to take her daughter to kindergarten.

From 2001 to 2012, more than 200,000 children whose parents are mainland residents were born in Hong Kong.

Not eligible to attend public schools on the mainland, many of these children have to cross the border every day for school, suffering exhausting commutes just to get an education.

But some Guangdong residents said Chi’s proposal was unfair. “Resources like education and medical care are limited even for local people in Guangzhou and Shenzhen,” said Zhu Yinghua, a retired teacher.