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Separated by births  

2012-03-13 00:52:04|  分类: 政情特搜 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Separated by births  Kelly Ip
Separated by births - 港燦 - Bear in Mind Ox
       Most Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress want Beijing to rule on the Basic Law and the status of babies born here to visiting mainland women.

That went against a plea from top officials here for the question to stay within the SAR.

Thirty of 36 NPC deputies yesterday signed a petition urging an interpretation of the Basic Law to clarify whether the babies are entitled to permanent residency. The remaining six deputies did not sign because they had returned to Hong Kong,

But Secretary for Justice Wong Yan- lung, backed by Secretary of Health York Chow, advised yesterday against any rush to seek action in Beijing.

Among petition signatories was Standing Committee member Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, who said deputies should not be seen as making a power play in Hong Kong. "Any attempt to create a second power centre is doomed," she said.

The deputies took the action, Fan added, as local women are being affected by hospital demands by mainlanders.

Guangdong authorities may be able to slow the flow of pregnant mainlanders, she said, but any relief would be temporary as "Hong Kong's welfare services are always attractive." She also noted that the 30 had signed a proposal, not a motion.

Justice chief Wong said that "though the National People's Congress has the right to interpret the Basic Law, the Basic Law itself also grants Hong Kong judicial independence." And the Court of Final Appeal had explained that Article 24 states that permanent residents include Chinese citizens born here before or after the establishment of the SAR.

Separated by births - 港燦 - Bear in Mind Ox

Also, he said, on June 26, 1999, Article 24 was interpreted to mean that either parent must meet one of two conditions by the time of birth in order for a child to have right of abode - to be born in Hong Kong or to have resided here for at least seven years.

Wong said the Legislative Council amended the immigration ordinance in 2001 after the Court of Final Appeal explained Article 24.

Backing Wong, Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok warned that seeking an interpretation of the Basic Law to resolve the problem of mainland women giving birth here "cannot be carried out in a hasty manner - it must be studied carefully and have the support of the public."

Also in Beijing yesterday, Basic Law Committee member Maria Tam Wai-chu said the deputies would welcome the Court of Final Appeal or the SAR administration requesting an interpretation by the NPC Standing Committee.

But NPC Standing Committee secretary general Qiao Xiaoyang said last week that it would be inappropriate to amend the Basic Law.

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