Date
26 September 2017
Cross-border children make their way across a walkway. Beijing may give Chinese citizenship to Hong Kong-born children whose parents are non-permanent residents. Photo: HKEJ
Cross-border children make their way across a walkway. Beijing may give Chinese citizenship to Hong Kong-born children whose parents are non-permanent residents. Photo: HKEJ

Beijing eyes citizenship for HK-born Chinese children

Beijing may allow Hong Kong-born children whose parents are non-permanent residents to acquire mainland citizenship.

Mainland authorities are studying a scheme under which such offspring will be granted citizenship if they give up their Hong Kong residency, Apple Daily reported Tuesday, citing legislator Wong Kwok-kin.

The program also applies to mainland immigrants who have lived in Hong Kong for at least seven years on one-way permits, he said.

Many immigrants and children of non-permanent Hong Kong residents, who do not have household registration and benefits in the mainland, are having trouble adapting to Hong Kong due to differences in culture and lifestyle, the report said.

The proposal would prohibit successful applicants from re-acquiring Hong Kong residency.

Violators face heavy penalties including revocation of their household registration in the mainland.

Legal experts said successful applicants are unlikely to lose their Hong Kong residency status which is protected by the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini constitution.

As a result, they will end up with dual citizenship, according to some government sources.

They said the scheme is complicated and needs further discussions between Hong Kong and Beijing.

No time table has been set for its implementation.

Democratic Party legislator James To questioned the feasibility of the program, saying there is no mechanism for relinquishing Hong Kong permanent residency under the Basic Law.

Dr. Chung Kim-wah, director of the Center for Social Policy Studies in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said it would be good to see the plan realized.

But he warned about its impact on Hong Kong’s labor force given its aging population.

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TL/AC/RA

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