Mainland China parents can relax on abode issue

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 4:50am

With the top court shunning a government request to seek constitutional clarification from Beijing, the right of abode currently enjoyed by children born in Hong Kong to mainland parents remains intact.

One such parent, who unsuccessfully asked the Court of Final Appeal to allow her eight-year-old daughter to join in the hearings, said she was happy about yesterday's ruling.

Li Yinxian told welfare group the Society for Community Organisation, that the ruling "reflects Hong Kong's judicial independence and the rule of law".

As of last year, at least 200,000 children like Li's daughter had been born in the city since the Court of Final Appeal granted right of abode in 2001 to Chong Fung-yuen - whose parents were not Hongkongers at the time of his birth.

Pro-mainland legal experts criticised the decision as not being in line with a 1999 interpretation imposed by the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

But the birth craze slowed this year, after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying imposed a zero-quota for mainland mothers to book local obstetrics services.

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung remained tight-lipped yesterday on whether the government would seek an interpretation from Beijing, saying only that it would "try its best" to resolve the issue through the local legal system.