Below are a couple recent news articles surrounding the population issues in Hong Kong. For readers’ easy reference, the Editors have combined them together in one post.
More relevant articles will be translated soon.
The House News
10th October 2013
“Reduce Population Increase” is Discrimination Against New Immigrants, MHKFRA Demands Apologies
Mainland-Hong Kong Families Rights Association hosted a press conference today criticised lawmakers Gary Fan Kwok-wai, Claudia Mo Meng-ching and conservation issues activity Roy Tam Hoi-bong for targeting new immigrants in a joint petition published last month which calls for CY Leung’s resignation and resist Hong Kong-China integration. MHKFRA resent the call for “reducing population increase” in the petition. The Association also “declare war” on Fan, Mo and Tam, demanding them to issue public apologise and withdraw their comments. The Association also plans to file complaint at Equal Opportunities Commission next week, demanding the commission to prohibit comments that discriminate new immigrants.
The joint petition was published as an advertisement on 3rd September. Initiated by lawmakers and activists, around 300 people joint the petition. The Association said that the initiators of this petition completely ignored that “one-way permit” is the foundation of family reunion between Hong Kong and China. It believes that the petition was started because of “lack of knowledge” and the goal for this petition is to “unscrupulously gain political capital”.
The Association also said that cross-boarder marriage accounts for 35% of total number of marriages in Hong Kong, reducing the one-way permit quota means that people will have to wait for longer before they can immigrate to Hong Kong, exploiting the family reunion rights of cross-boarder families. It claimed that people under the “couple reunion” category have to wait for over four years to gain their one-way permits. The Association also said that if reducing the number of one-way permit from 150 a day to 30-40 a day, as per Roy Tam Hoi-bong suggested, people in the couple reunion category will have to wait for 12 years. The Association said that such suggestion is “cold blooded”.
The petition mentioned that Hong Kong SAR government should take back the approval right of one-way permit in order to reduce the import of population, and a key solution to HK’s housing problems is “reducing the source of increase of population”. The Association resent the petition for directing social problems at new immigrants.
What breaks our hearts is that those who gave these suggestions did not only fail to highlight the government’s responsibilities of distributing social resources equally in order to make sure that people can live in Hong Kong happily, they even blam the problems on new immigrants and cross-boarder families and ask them to bear the burden of lack of land and housing. Is this righteous? As long as no democracy is in place in Hong Kong, property developers will continue to control our finance and economy. Unless collusion between government and business is being controlled, the problem will not be resolved even if there are no more new immigrants.(Mainland-Hong Kong Families Rights Association)
The Association plans to invite Fan, Mo and Tam to meet with cross-boarder families and hope that they will further understand their situations and their difficulties.
MHKFRA is formulated by a number of organisations, including Justice and Peace Commission of The HK Catholic Diocese, Hong Kong Christian Institute and Tong Gen Association. Last week, the Association also started a petition demanding Hong Kong SAR government to set up a Hong Kong-China liaison group imminently to reform the approval process of one-way permits, in the long run take back the approval rights (from China). The Association also think that the society must not blame the land and housing problems on new immigrants and should recognised that it is the result of collusion between Hong Kong SAR government and property hegemony.
Full Statement Issued by MHKFRA：
To discuss the facts about “one-way permit” and “family reunion” with “Gary Fan, Claudia Mo and Roy Tam”
Mainland-Hong Kong Families Rights Association (Association) is formulated by over ten organisations, and has been focusing on the rights and benefits of cross-boarder families since 2008.
On 3rd September 2013, a group of people and lawmakers proposed “reducing population increase at source” in the names of protesting against the government’s plan to develop North East New Territories. They asked for a cut in one-way permit daily quota and take back the approval rights of such permit.
The Association can not accept this accusation directed at new immigrants in Hong Kong. We think that this is an irresponsible demand that disregarded facts and the difficult situations of cross-boarder families. The Association wishes to express its strong resentment towards the petition’s originators, including Gary Fan, Roy Tam and Claudia Mo, for the inappropriate stand of “reducing population increase at source” and criticisting new immigrants for bringing negative impacts to Hong Kong.
The Association believes that the petition originators, who are lawmakers and activists, completely ignore one-way permit is the foundation of embodiment of “family reunion” for cross-boarder families, and believes that their stance is based on “lack of knowledge” and their goal is “unscrupulously gain political capital”.
In order to express our discontent with the relevant individuals, the Association will host a press conference to publicly declare war on Gary Fan, Roy Tam, Claudia Mo and other petition supports, and demand the three to withdraw their inappropriate statement on “reducing population increase at source” based on their righteousness and conscious, and issue a public apology.
New Immigrants are not the scapegoats, Everyone has the right to choose where to live
Before the handover, Hong Kong and China have been having frequent interactions. It is impossible to completely cut of such interactions today. Since there are interactions, marriages are unavoidable, just like Hong Kongers marrying foreigners. There are numerous cross-nationality marriages in the past, why is it necessary to target at Mainland Chinese? Isn’t this discrimination? Besides, many Mainland Chinese reside in Hong Kong and many Hong Kongers move to China to work or study. Such interactions impose positive effects on the economy and culture exchange in both places. Just like the Hong Kongers who live in Mainland China, everyone has its rights to choose the place to reside in and to live. Many years ago, Hong Kong SAR government has started to allow Hong Kongers who reside in Guangdong and Fujian to carry on receiving Social Security Allowance and Old-Age Allowance, with no restriction on whether they reside in Hong Kong.
Reducing one-way permit quota does not impact the core value of family reunion? WRONG!
At present, over 35% of Hong Kong marriages are cross-boarder marriages. Reducing one-way permit quota means that applicants will have to wait for longer before they can reunite. Take “couple reunion” category as an example, on average, one-way permit will be granted to applicants in this category in four years or more for the spouse in China to move to Hong Kong for reunion. Adapting Roy Tam’s suggestion, that is to reduce the current 150 daily quota to 30-40 a day, “couple reunion” applicants will have to wait for 12 years. This suggestion is worst than the quota in 1980s, which was 75 a day, an era of inhumane when couples had to wait for over 10 years before reunion.
If those who proposed this has a spouse in Mainland China, he would not have proposed this cold blooded suggestion. Is this, making couples and their families to wait for 12 or 13 years before reunion, the correct value a lawmaker or a former teach should have?
No reason to reduce quota
One-way permit is the only channel for spouses, children and parents with no other support in Mainland China of cross-boarder families to reunite with their families in Hong Kong. Couples have to wait for four years, children and their parents have to go through an score system. Proposing to reduce one-way permit quota is simply rubbing salt on others’ wounds. Those people only thoughtlessly proposed to reduce the quota to 30-40 a day but failed to provide any concrete evidence to back the proposal. Although the 150 quota does not get used up every day, but on average 130 one-way permit holders come to Hong Kong to reunite with their families. Clearly there is a great need for such permit and the quota should not be reduced. Those who proposed a reduction should offer convincing evidence and research studies that led to the 30-40 daily quota proposal. They need to give reasons why it shouldn’t be 50-60 a day? Or 150-160 a day? We hope that all proposals are based on facts, but not simply numbers and reasons, and not aiming at receiving a round of applause when turning a blind eye to others’ suffering.
Discrimination and Polarisation – Helping China’s Stabalisation Mission
Although the relevant individuals and groups are targeting the potential new immigrants, the ones that are being hurt are the new and old immigrants who are living in Hong Kong. According to the “reduce population increase at source” proposal, the new immigrants living in Hong Kong will continue to be discriminated. Their families and friends who have yet o move to Hong Kong will continue to suffer from the bitterness of being separated. We want to point out that old and new immigrants, and local Hong Kongers are not binary opposition. Deliberately creating a confrontational situation and polarising the society, will only ensure the continuity of Hong Kong SAR government’s authoritarian governance.
Why targeting cross-boarder families?
What breaks our hearts is that those who gave these suggestions did not only fail to highlight the government’s responsibilities of distributing social resources equally in order to make sure that people can live in Hong Kong happily, they even blam the problems on new immigrants and cross-boarder families and ask them to bear the burden of lack of land and housing. Is this righteous? As long as no democracy is in place in Hong Kong, property developers will continue to control our finance and economy. Unless collusion between government and business is being controlled, the problem will not be resolved even if there are no more new immigrants.
Is it possible to have both dolphins and families?
To us, putting the rights of family reunion as the opposition of notions like white dolphins’ living space, country park preservation and North East New Territories development, is completely ridiculous. We have to respect the rights of cross-boarder families to reunite with their families, but at the same time fight against property hegemony, and focus on fighting for a democratic system to suppress collusion between government and business. This is the right way to go. Isn’t it innocent to think that stopping Mainland Chinese from emigrating to Hong Kong can resolve all these social problems?
Reporting corruption is everyone’s duty
There are many loopholes in the current one-way permit system. However, this does not mean that one has to deny and overturn the existing system. If any citizen finds out a neighbour or friend move to Hong Kong via illegal means, he/she must report to the authorities. The existing legal system can definitely punish the outlaws. It is everyone’s responsibility to monitor the government. Only by monitoring the government, all these problems can be resolved. In addition, isn’t it a bit to hasty to come up with the “restricting one-way permit quota” proposal simply base on one news article or observation of one’s neighbourhood on one morning? If they could contact more cross-boarder families and listen to their suffering and demands, they may change their mind.
Family reunion should be the only reason for issuing one-way permit
Some proposed that Hong Kong should take back the approval rights on one-way permit. However, if the approval will only based on applicants’ assets and education level, instead of family reunion reasons, or worst, reducing quota for family reunion applicants, and causing cross-boarder families to suffer from longer separation period, we are determined to object such proposal.
1. One-way permit should only be issued to applicants with family reunion reasons. The governments in China and Hong Kong should accelerate the approval process in order to reduce the sufferings of cross-boarder families (for example: waiting time for couple reunion typically is four years, we recommend reducing it to two or even one year);
2. Establish a Hong Kong-China liaison department, to investigate and approve applications that are delayed because difficulties happened during the application process;
3. Legislative Council to reestablish a study group to look into Mainland China and HKSAR family issues, and makes this group a standing group in order to monitor the one-way permit approval progress closely;
4. In addition to the categories within the 150 daily quota, new categories should be added, e.g. single parent and overage children
1. The Association will file a complaint to Equal Opportunities Commission next week, to ask the Commission to stop relevant discriminative comments
2. The Association will invite the three (abovementioned) petition originators to speak with cross-boarder families, with the hope that they can understand their existing condition and difficulties
MHKFRA members include: Mainland-Hong Kong Families Rights Association, Tong Gen Association, Justice and Peace Commission of The HK Catholic Diocese, Hong Kong Christian Institute, China-Hong Kong Single Mother Concern Group, 荃新姊妹網, Mission to New Arrivals Ltd, CSSA Alliance, 爭取居港權家長協會, 居權大學 and 新來港婦女權益組
10th October 2013
The House News
10th October 2013
Gary Fan, Claudia Mo and Roy Tam Deny Accusation
Mainland-Hong Kong Families Rights Association (MHKFRA) criticised lawmakers Gary Fan Kwok-wai, Claudia Mo Meng-ching and activist Roy Tam Hoi-bong at a press conference for targeting and discriminating new immigrants in their recent petition published last month which demands CY Leung to resign. The Association also declare war on them.
Fan, Mo and Tam issued a joint statement yesterday afternoon, which says that the relevant individuals have abused the term “discrimination” and emphasises that the petition merely pointed out that the number of new immigrants via one-way permit since the handover has reached 700,000 which put huge pressure on Hong Kong. The statement also says that these are objective facts and beyond any doubt.
anchor babies, new immigrants and Chinese tourists have caused a lot of controversies, which shows that there is a crisis within Hong Kong’s population policy and it does not meet international custom. When a government establish immigration policy, it will not constitute discrimination. This is simply because no matter how open a place is, it certainly cannot welcome an entire country’s population or the world’s population as its new immigrants. The only way to prevent conflicts or even hatred from happening is to formulate reasonable a population policy that matches the local expectations and development needs. Therefore, asking the HKSAR government to take back the one-way permit approval right is a proposed policy and does not constitute ‘discrimination’.
(Joint statement by Gary Fan, Claudia Mo and Roy Tam)
In the petition, said the three individuals, does not contain a word that objects the right of reunion of cross-boarder families. All three of them think that family reunion is basic human rights, and highlighted that the the petition only pointed out the close relationship between population policy and housing demand. Fan, Mo and Tam urged the Association to refrain from muddling the issue and should debate based on facts.
Joint Statement Issued By Gary Fan, Claudia Mo and Roy Tam
Pleaes do not abuse the term”discrimination” – MHKFRA must recognise the fact of “Blinded Land Grab”
Today, Mainland-Hong Kong Families Rights Association (Association) held a press conference and made rash criticism against Gary Fan, Roy Tam and Claudia Mo (us) and accuse the citizens of Hong Kong who supported the petition, entitled “anti-integration, anti-sinicisation, anti-blinded land grab” which also demands CY Leung’s resignation, for discriminating new immigrants. The Association also claimed to declare war on us demanded us to withdraw our comment about “reduce population increase at source”. To us, the relevant individuals abused the term”discrimination”.
1. Proposing policy does not constitute “discrimination”
For a long time, HKSAR government has not had any population policy. The aim of publishing the “anti-blinded land grab” petition was to raise awareness in the public about the situation of blinded land grab, and hope to raise public awareness of the development of Hong Kong’s population policy.The petition pointed out that the number of new immigrants in Hong Kong via one-way permit since the handover has reached 700,000, this has put huge pressure on Hong Kong. This is a objective fact in the society and is beyond doubt.
Anchor babies, new immigrants and Chinese tourists have caused a lot of controversies, which shows that there is a crisis within Hong Kong’s population policy and it does not meet international custom. When a government establish immigration policy, it will not constitute discrimination. This is simply because no matter how open a place is, it certainly cannot welcome an entire country’s population or the world’s population as its new immigrants. The only way to prevent conflicts or even hatred from happening is to formulate reasonable a population policy that matches the local expectations and development needs.
We ask the HKSAR government to take back the one-way permit approval right is a policy proposal, and can never constitute discrimination. Otherwise, all the countries in the world that have immigration approval rights would have all been accused as “discriminating” people from other countries.
2. Never object family reunion, Association should stop muddling the issue
The “anti-blinded land grab” petition does not contain a word that objects cross-boarder families’ right of family reunion. The petition merely pointed out that close relationship between population policy and housing demand. We urge the Association to refrain from muddling the issue and focus on debating on the issues based on facts only.
3. Loopholes in immigration policy must be sealed
As a special administrative region of China, Hong Kong SAR has never had any clear objective in its population policy, nor possessed complete execution power. Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy” is not as high as Macau’s, and in fact have less power than provinces and cities in China in terms of control on household registration. This is partly due to historical factors (Sino-British agreement on receiving Chinese national), but in the current times when population mobility across the global is fast and easy, there are too many loopholes. One-way permit system is no longer suitable, and can easily trigger resentment amongst the locals. Loopholes in immigration policy must be sealed.
4. Welcome discussion on population policy and seek practical and realistic solutions
We welcome those who concern Chinese new immigrants to engage in discussions about Hong Kong’s population policy and one-way permit system. Our goal is to find practical and realistic solutions.