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  • Apr 19, 2014
  • Updated: 3:43pm
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EDUCATION

More mainland Chinese parents want children to travel to school in Hong Kong: forum

Online forum finds rise in parents who want youngsters to make lengthy school trips to HK

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 October, 2013, 5:17am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 October, 2013, 10:26am

Mainland parents are increasingly keen on their Hong Kong-born children commuting daily to schools in the city, says the founder of an online forum.

William Zhou, who runs hkbbclub.com - a forum set up in 2009 by mainland parents with children born overseas - said he sensed a significant change in attitude among the forum's registered members, with many more now willing to send their children across the border for study.

"Two years ago, we did a rough survey and found about 2,000 of our member families - most living in the Pearl River Delta - planned to send their children to Hong Kong for education," he said.

"Now I think the number will be much higher. Two years ago the group had 20,000 members. That has grown to 43,000."

Zhou estimated between 20 and 30 per cent of forum members planned to send their children to Hong Kong for schooling, even though that meant a daily commute and even the risk of separation from their children.

He attributed the change to the rapid narrowing of living expenses between the two sides and a new wave of migration among middle-class mainland families looking for better education, cleaner air and a free society.

Zhang said that two years ago many mainland parents went to Hong Kong to give birth mainly to escape the one-child policy. Only a small number planned to send their children back because of the expense and inconvenience. But as the income gap between Hong Kong and Pearl River Delta cities narrowed and the yuan continued to appreciate against the Hong Kong dollar, many now found the plan more affordable.

Mainland mother Sally Wu, who has lived in To Kwan Wan for a year, said: "A downtown Shenzhen flat now costs at least three million yuan [HK$3.8 million]. If you have two such apartments and you sell one of them, the money is easily enough for you to send your children to Hong Kong for study. In fact, many daily necessities in Hong Kong are now cheaper than Shenzhen and Guangzhou."

Wu rented a small flat for HK$4,000 a month and her three-year-old daughter goes to a private kindergarten in Kowloon Tong. She said a school of a similar quality in Shenzhen would cost at least 120,000 yuan a year.

"The main expenses in Hong Kong are rent and tuition fees. But if you compare it with the mainland, it is actually more reasonable and more affordable on the whole," Wu said.

More and more mainland families also want to send their children here because they admire Hong Kong's education and social security system.

Hong Kong-born mainland babies will have no household registration - meaning they will not qualify for social welfare and education benefits on the mainland. This further makes Hong Kong an attractive option.

"When you read horrifying stories of cancer villages across the country, corrupt officials and crackdowns on internet freedom, many well-educated middle-class are worried [about their children's future]," Zhou said.

Many parents wanted to "migrate to a more democratic society, a cleaner environment and better education opportunities".

There is little data on how many of these Hong Kong-born mainland children will one day come to study and settle here.

According to the International Migration Report (2012) released by the Centre for China and Globalisation and Beijing Institute of Technology's law school, more than 150,000 mainlanders obtained overseas citizenship in 2011, making China the world's biggest source of immigrants.

"The rich and educated elites are becoming the main force in the latest round of emigration," the report said. "The percentage of the middle-class in the total emigration group is rising."

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This article is now closed to comments

peye3515
Seems the children are being used as pawns in a game to satisfy their parents ego.
superdx
Since these parents do not reside in HK, pay no tax, then they can't have any reasonable expectation to attend school here. Charge them. In the US they are actually welcoming Chinese students as they bring much needed funding to local schools, it's about $10,000 USD. I'm sure the local schools can use the extra cash, since they are chronically under-funded.
KwunTongBypass
@Chinsg
Noble words, far from reality.
Ho much 'nurturing' by Hong Kong has the PRC accepted during the past ten years?
"......the mainland has no intention of assimilating Hong Kong" - Global Times 10 Sept 2012!
Keep on dreaming!
daily
HK is going to "drown" from all these mainlanders using up our resources............the damnn HK government is just too stupid or blind to do anything about it............
sudo rm -f cy
Or, more ominously, they know exactly what they're doing.
impala
How much longer before our government finally puts an end to this madness?

It is mind-boggling that this problem continues while the whole thing is based on a gross policy error. The solution is simple: allow only Hong Kong resident children to attend schools situated in Hong Kong. Period.

No, these mainland children do not have 'Hong Kong residency.' They have a right of abode (and hence right of residency) in Hong Kong. But they are not using it. They are living on the mainland. They are residents of Shenzhen, not of Hong Kong.

Why are we allowing children who are not resident in our city to attend our city's schools? This is a ridiculous policy, of which I have never heard before. You think any other city allows this? Of course not, since it would be plainly unsustainable.

Another angle then: schools, like hospitals and so on, are public facilities. They get paid for by taxes. Taxes are paid by residents (except in the case of the US). These children and their parents are not residents. They do not contribute to Hong Kong tax income. Why do we have the obligation to provide them with schooling? We don't. In fact, it is a clearly unsustainable and unfair policy to have Hong Kong taxpayers pay for schooling of children whose parents choose to stay outside of the Hong Kong tax base.

It would be entirely normal and fair to expect that children who want to attend a Hong Kong school live within the SBR's borders. End of problem.
lamlm38
" it is a clearly unsustainable and unfair policy to have Hong Kong taxpayers pay for schooling of children whose parents choose to stay outside of the Hong Kong tax base“。。 well, in case u havent noticed the mainland parents are not allowed to live in HK and pay taxes in the first plc!!! they cant throw the tax money over the border, cant they? just plain stupid comment!!!!
impala
@lamlm38
Indeed they can't pay taxes from across the border. They should move here, it is as simple as that. If they want their children to enjoy HK public facilities, then move to HK. Don't parasitise those facilities from across the border.

And if neither parents are allowed to live here, then what business did their child have being born in Hong Kong? None. In that case, they are (at best) trying to trick the system, something that should not be encouraged and certainly doesn't grant them rights.
lamlm38
@jve
what do you mean by "trick the system"? untill today giving birth in HK and getting local residency are protected by the law that's why the HK gov doesnt hv any legal basis to stop this!!!
Most countries will grant visa to parents of it's citizenship whether or not either one of the parent is a citizen.. but the commies of PRC is no ordinary country :)
k.j.ho@surrey.ac.uk
The subject-matter here is the children. They were born in Hong Kong and enjoy the right of abode. This means they have right of access to public education provided by the HK government. If you don't like it, then it is up to you to lobby Legco or the NPC to amend the Basic Law. Otherwise I really don't see how you can restrict them from coming.

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