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Mainland Chinese protest for H.K. residency.

HONG KONG, Feb. 4 Kyodo Several dozen mainland Chinese protested at Hong Kong's Immigration Department on Thursday, claiming the right to reside in the territory. The protesters, who gathered at the Immigration Tower in the Wanchai district, said they are children of permanent Hong Kong residents and according to a court ruling last Friday entitled to live in Hong Kong. The Court of Final Appeal ruled that children born to a Hong Kong parent are entitled to the right of abode even if they were born before the parent received permanent residence in Hong Kong. The protesters called for their application for Certification of Entitlement to be accepted in Hong Kong instead of mainland China, according to Asia Television. An Immigration Department spokesman, however, said they must apply for certification in the mainland. Most of the protesters' visas will expire within this week and the department has not extended them, the spokesman said. Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa told reporters that the court ruling on mainland children might have a negative impact on Hong Kong. "The problem could be rather serious and we have to understand the impact, if this problem is not resolved...on education, health care, community services, welfare," Tung said. He said a task force formed to assess the issue, headed by Chief Secretary Anson Chan, will hold its first meeting Friday. A survey conducted in 1996 by the Census and Statistics Department showed there were 320,600 legitimate children of Hong Kong people born in the mainland. Ambrose Lee, Hong Kong's director of immigration, said the government will arrange for 13,000 mainland Chinese who have received the Certificate of Entitlement in the mainland to come to Hong Kong as soon as possible. The court ruling has also opened the way for illegitimate children of Hong Kong residents to live in the territory.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:9HONG
Date:Feb 8, 1999
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