Cross-Border Marriages Between Hong-Kong and Term Paper

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(Cattelain, 1997; paraphrased) the work of Cattelain additionally states that as of the beginning of "...July, 1997, approximately 66,000 children born to couples of which one is a Hong Kong resident and one is a mainlanders were waiting to come to Hong Kong, and around 2,000-4,000 children who had entered the territory illegally or overstayed visit permits were estimated to be in Hong Kong." (Cattelain, 1997) Marriage between individuals and the resulting bearing of children has proved problematic to the mainland in terms of regulations and it is stated in Cattelain's work that "One of the first issues that the newly created Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has had to dealt with his pitted an individual right against a community's capacity to absorb large numbers of new immigrants at one time." (1997)

VII. Basic Law Regulating Children Born Outside of Hong Kong with Parent in Hong Kong

It is held under Article 24(3) of the Basic Law that if the child is born outside of Hong Kong and has a parent with permanent residence in Hong Kong then that child has "the right of abode in Hong Kong after July 1, 1997." (Cattelain, 1997) All the individuals on the waiting list felt sure that the right of abode would become effective however, it is reported that this is not the case. Smuggling children into the country has become a problem. Children born outside the territory seeking permanent Hong Kong residency obtain prior endorsement of their right of abode in the form of a "Certificate of Entitlement" issued by the Immigration Department. The Bill empowers the Director of Immigration to deport children who have entered illegally or overstayed. The government stated that the bill was merely administrative, containing "detailed provisions for the application of Article 24(3)of the Basic Law." (Cattelain, 1997)

When asked in an interview whether such an administrative measure effectively deprived the children of their right, Elsie Tu, a Provisional Legislature member and veteran politician, said: "What do you mean by right? Do you mean that those who have come illegally have the right while those who are waiting are going to lose their priority for schooling and housing? Can you tell me how we can find schools and housing for 66,000 children? Or why we should give priority and privileges to those who have been brought in illegally?" (Cattelain, 1997) Controversy still exists for those who are involved in cross-border marriages. Relationships between individuals in Hong Kong and China are stated to "...cross the rigid boundaries which have divided Hong Kong from China." (Cattelain, 1997) a Cultural Revolution occurred in Hong Kong and specifically working class men working blue-collar jobs. Difficulty in finding a mate resulted in men marrying women from where they originated however "these wives do not have the right of abode; and their children did not have it either until July 1, 1997." (Cattelain, 1997) in order to be granted this right it is required that mainlanders make application for a "One Way Entry Permit, under a quota system meant to facilitate family reunion." (Cattelain, 1997) Stated in the work of Cattelain is a "major deficiency of the system...that mothers nd children may not arrive in the territory at the same time. Because more permits are allocated to children, they often come earlier than their mothers." (Cattelain, 1997)

VIII. Analysis of the "Mess" (Ho Hei-wa: Director of Society for Community Organization

This is stated to be simply "a mess" by Ho Hei-wah, director of the Society for Community Organization (SoCO), a major Hong Kong NGO" with a longitudinal history in service provision experience for new migrants including avocation for their rights." (Cattelain, 1997; paraphrased) the needs of families reuniting has been overlooked by the Chinese government and Hei-wah stated: "Many split 'pseudo-single parent' families have been created as a result, with attendance family, marital and child-care problems. Some men have had to leave their jobs to take care of their children and then rely on social welfare to survive." (Cattelain, 1997)

IX. Proponents of the Bill: Rationale

Those who support this bill which includes both the government as well as members of the Provision Legislature, since they did pass the bill "reject the criticism that the measure states an alarming precedent by allowing administrative convenience to override basic rights." (Cattelain, 1997) the problem is that the Basic Law absolutely 'guarantees' these children the right of abode and additionally guarantees them residency in Hong Kong on a permanent basis." (Cattelain, 1997) it is reported that Law
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Yuk-kai, Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, executive director stated: "a right which cannot be exercise immediately is not a right...delay means denied..." (Cattelain, 1997) Effective delay or denial of a right or even "the exercise of a right, which amounts to the same thing..the government's promise that all the children waiting in the mainland will be allowed to come to the territory within two years does not assuage such concerns." (Cattelain, 1997) Challenges that arrival of all the children at one time are posited to present to the social support services is one that would be "extremely difficult to bear" states the bill however, it is reported that with a budget of HK$330 billion there should be plenty in terms of resources available for schools and teachers. It is additionally reported that families interviewed have related to bribes may be paid in order to hurry the process and in the amount ranging from HK$60,000 to HK$200,000." (Cattelain, 1997) There is stated to be "the prevalence of corruption in the process." (Cattelain, 1997) the quota for allowing children entry has not bee met by the government and it was shown by the Security Branch that "only 32,773 permits were issued between July 1995 and May 1997..." meaning that over 13,000 "one way entry permits available in the past two years for mainland-born children were not issued." (Cattelain, 1997)

X. Uninitiated Queues and the Psychological Harm Caused to Waiting or Hiding Children

It is acknowledged by the principal Assistant Secretary for Security in Hong Kong that "at this rate, the 66,000 remaining mainland children would not be reunited with their families for another four or five years." (Cattelain, 1997) the stories are tragic in terms of the costs to the quality of the lives of those involved in these cross-border marriage and children situations. These individuals are forced to give up jobs to take care of children because the other parent cannot come across the borders with fathers going on welfare to stay at home with children. Individuals are paying smugglers of people referred to as 'snake-head' people and state that by doing so "we are not jumping the queue because there was no queue to follow..." (Cattelain, 1997) These children referred to as 'illegals' are stated to live underground...frightened...and can only go to informal tutorial center[s] because no school will accept" these children. The psychological aspects result in children suffering without the benefit of a normal social life.


Corruption is prevalent in a system that requires the payment of high bribes and fees for smuggling of children into a country in order that the children may be with their parents. The government that uses regulations in this matter is one that appears bent on completely breaking down the parent-child and family structure in Hong Kong and mainland China. The red-tape and bureaucracies existing in a system that does not meet queue quotas is one that perpetuates bribery and smuggling of human beings. Furthermore, these types of regulations do not support the country economically as exampled in the cases of parents unable to work because they are the only parent available to the children due to the entry requirements and regulations in Hong Kong. Certainly, it would be more efficient to invest in more schools and teachers than to force parents into welfare situations when they would rather be working and the country as a whole would be more productive and this is not even to factor in the psychological harm caused to these children who are forced to hide while being smuggled, to live underground so as not to be discovered in Hong Kong and then there are the children who are dragged in handcuffs and repatriated to a homeland they have never known but due to regulations are forced to enter into and live among strangers. There is no apparent rationale in the bill which stands barring children with a parent in Hong Kong to be guaranteed abode and permanent residency in Hong Kong as this bill, interfering with the right of abode and residency guarantee for children born out of the country of Hong Kong with a parent in the country of Hong Kong to enter into the country. All the results of this bill which stands as an offensive barrier against Basic Law in Hong Kong are negative, counterproductive and in breach of human rights.


Tu, Edward Jow-Ching (2007 Cross-Border…

Sources Used in Documents:


Tu, Edward Jow-Ching (2007 Cross-Border Marriage in Hong Kong and Taiwan. International Marriage Migration in Asia. 2007 Seoul. PAK/IPAR Conference.

Chen, Yu-Hua (2007) the Rise of Cross-Border Marriages and Its Impact on Fertility in Taiwan. Comparative Workshop of low Fertility organized by Asia Research Institute and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. 22-23 February 2007. National University of Singapore. Online available at

Cattelain, Chlo (1997) Family vs. Society: Hong Kong's Battle Over Right of Abode for Mainland-Born Children. HRIC. 30 June 1997. Online available at

Chan, Bernard (nd) Post-1997 Hong Kong: The Social and Environmental Impact. Asia Financial Group and Asia Insurance Co. Ltd. And the Hong Kong Council of Social Service.

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