Lunar New Year

Single mainland mothers protest at Tamar in bid to be reunited with Hong Kong-born children

The group submitted a petition and appealed to Hong Kong security minister John Lee Ka-chiu to liaise with mainland authorities

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 February, 2018, 5:14pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 February, 2018, 11:01pm

Dozens of single mainland Chinese mothers of Hong Kong-born children protested at the government headquarters in Admiralty on Saturday and demanded authorities speed up the process to allow them to permanently settle in the city.

The group, led by non-profit Society for Community Organisation, submitted a petition on the second day of the Lunar New Year and appealed to Hong Kong security minister John Lee Ka-chiu to liaise with mainland authorities.

The mothers said they had been waiting for around eight years on average for a one-way permit, a document issued by the Chinese government that allows residents to leave the mainland without a time limit.

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Around 180 such single families involving 200 children had sought help from SoCO as the mothers are mainland residents without the right to abode in Hong Kong and can only come to the city with a visit visa. Their children are permanent residents in the city since they were born to Hong Kong fathers.

The families are separated for at least two weeks every three months, as the mothers have to renew their documents back in the mainland.

SoCO organiser Sze Lai-shan said little had improved in the past seven years despite the group discussing the long-running problem with several government departments.

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Lai, a registered social worker, also criticised Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor for failing to address the problem in her policy address. She said the city authorities had also failed to reflect the situation to policymakers on the mainland, which led to delays in approval of the one-way permit.

“Lunar New Year is a time for family reunions, but these families have not been able to reunite for many years,” Sze said.

“I hope the government can help these families so that the children could grow up happy.”