Jan 25, 2012
Braving the cold, some 40 mainland mothers marched on government headquarters in Admiralty yesterday to demand permanent residency so they can care for their children, who they say are living like orphans in the city.
An estimated 7,000 children born to mainland women have Hong Kong fathers who have died or abandoned the family, according to the Society for Community Organisation (Soco), citing Social Welfare Department data on children receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance.
"These children are living like orphans, and were left to take care of themselves from a young age," said Sze Lai-shan, a community organiser for Soco.
The protesters called on the government to use its discretionary powers to grant the women eligibility for permanent identity cards as part of the daily quota of 150 mainlanders allowed to move permanently to live in Hong Kong. Most of the quota places are given to children coming to live with parents in the city.
The mothers use a two-way travel permit to cross the border in order to take care of their children, Sze said.
If the women are temporarily unable to renew their permits, they may be forced to take their children out of school and return with them to the mainland.
"These mothers and children are suffering from pressure and fear," Sze said. "Many families cannot reunite even at Lunar New Year." (SCMP)
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