For all its faults, the Hong Kong Catholic Church was pretty cool on this issue. A major issue of status in Hong Kong is that of Hong Kong families with children and spouses born in Mainland China. As a result of the one country, two system policy, (and colonialism .. and British immigration policy to ensure that there would not have been a ‘flood’ of Hong Kong people going to the UK) there are separate citizenship categories for those in the Mainland and those born in Hong Kong. Despite a Hong Kong supreme court ruling that children of Hong Kongers born in the Mainland should be granted Hong Kong citizenship in 1999, the Hong Kong government appealed to Beijing. Beijing ‘reinterpreted’ the law, indicating that the children would not be granted status in Hong Kong. By early 2002, thousands of Mainlanders and over 4,700 children faced deportation to the Mainland. Furthermore, the Hong Kong government stipulated that these children would not be allow access to public schools. The Catholic Church publicly opposed these immigration policies and ordered all Catholic schools in Hong Kong to admit these children.
Anyways, recently, the Hong Kong government decided to grant status to Hong Kong family members born in the Mainland – estimated at 200,000 people. Praise must be given to the families and activists who organized around this issue, protesting monthly, for being able to finally push the government towards granting status. Though, many speculate, and there isn’t much doubt, that there are concerns over labour shortages and the state just wants more cheap labourers…