historical timeline for the movement of right of abode for children of Hong Kong people
after the establishment of the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC), the PRC and the British consented to decide on the number of legal immigration to Hong Kong together.
1950 – “quota system for leaving and entering the territory”
it was the first time for the Hong Kong Government to establish the “quota system” to control the leaving and entering of Chinese people, then the so called “legal immigrant” and “illegal immigrant” came into being.
since 1950 – “escape to Hong Kong rush”
famines happened in PRC, large population illegally migrated to Hong Kong, and started the escape to Hong Kong rush for more than 30 years.
1957 – “Anti-Right Wing Campaign”
the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) started the “Anti-Right Wing Campaign”, which lots of intellectuals and dissidents being defamed as “Right Wing” and being persecuted and tortured, and caused the first wave of escape, of mostly being intellectuals.
1958 to 1960 – “Great Leap Forward, widespread famine”
CCP pushed forward the Great Leap Forward, which caused the widespread famine, many Cantonese farmers fled for survival, the Guangdong Government turned a blind eye, but after the Yita incident, policies were reined in. thereafter, the later migrants were mostly for economical or family-reunion reasons.
the decade of 1960 – “industrial development of Hong Kong”
with the development of the economy of Hong Kong, cheap labours were in demand by the market, the British-Hong Kong Government introduced the Black Stamp and Green Stamp identity cards to signify legal and illegal immigrants respectively, people who migrated to Hong Kong illegally still did not had an official Hong Kong identity at that time.
26 April 1962
in Boa’an County from; Huiyang, Dongguan, Guanggzhou, Nanhai, Taishan, Haifeng, Chao’an, etc. totalling 62 districts and from 12 other provinces, people formed a long march, including old and young, fled towards Hong Kong, the successful number were up to 4,000 people in a day.
6 May 1962
the British-Hong Kong Government was shocked by the large influx, and deported all those captured back to Boa’an.
policy relaxation, the British-Hong Kong Government issued Identity Card to the “illegal immigrants”, with the same status as the other residents.
huge increase in the population of Hong Kong, comparing with late 1950’s, the population increase amounted to nearly 1 million, which was about 1/3 of the original population.
May to Dec 1967 – “1967 Hong Kong Riot”
beginning with a labour dispute and demonstration, and developed into a massive struggle targeting the British-Hong Kong Government after the participation and intervention by various peoples and parties.
31 October 1967 – “Hong Kong Week”
the British-Hong Kong Government organised the “Hong Kong Week” for the first time, the then Hong Kong Governer Trench said, “we know Hong Kong is a happy and vibrant city, being agreesive and vigourous, and just what has been demonstrated, having the ability to overcome difficulties that the other cities of the world would find bewildered, and our citizen could calmly endure the difficulties, this is our blessing.” The Governer also pointed out, one of the main target of the Hong Kong Week, is to bring attention to our success in the industrial development among the people of Hong kong and the foreign visitors.
the decade of 1970’s – “Four Asian Tigers”
rapid economical development, taking on the chances when the developed countries were transferring the labour intensive productions to the developing countries, to attract large amount of foreign capitals and technologies, using the advantages of the local cheap and well developed labour force, while adjusting the economical development policies timely for a rapid development, and became a new developed region, after Japan in East Asia and South East Asia, and also became one of the economical driving force in East Asia and South East Asia.
November 1974 – “Touch Base Policy”
implemented in November 1974, thereafter, immigrants from Mainland China who managed to reach the urban area of Hong Kong (south of Boundary Street) could be given the status as residents of Hong Kong.
1978 – “Reform and Opening Up”
CCP pushed forward Reform and Opening Up, to implement the mixed economy model, practising the Household Responsibility System for the farming sector, allowing privately owned enterprises not to be control by the State, and policies allowing investment from foreign enterprises.
18 October 1978 – “establishment of Shenzhen City”
Standing Committee of the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee decided the change Bao’an County into Shenzhen City, a medium level city, as a base for foreign trade.
beginning of April 1979 – “Trade Cooperation Zone”
Standing Committee of the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee discussed and proposed to the Central Government to designate an area for the establishment of a “Trade Cooperation Zone” with land lots from Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shantou and Xieman. in the same month, the Central Working Conference decided and agreed to the trial of “Trade Cooperation Zone” in Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shantou and Xieman.
26 August 1980 – “attracting foreign investment”
the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) approved the “Regulations of the Guangdong Special Economic Zone (SEZ)”. Shenzhen formulated a series of preferential policies to attract foreign investment, through the processing of incoming materials, compensation trade, joint ventures, cooperative operations, sole proprietorship, and leasing, the city has attracted a large amount of foreign investment and helped popularize and enable rapid development of the SEZ concept.
23 October 1980 – “Policy of Immediate Repatriation of Illegal Immigrants”
British-Hong Kong Government announced the cancellation of the Touch Base Policy, and implemented the Policy of Immediate Repatriation of Illegal Immigrants. All illegal immigrants once found, will be repatriated to Mainland China immediately.
1984 – “Sino-British Joint Declaration”
the Sino-British Joint Declaration stipulated that persons of Chinese nationality born outside Hong Kong of permanent residents of Hong Kong shall have the right of abode in Hong Kong and be qualified to obtain permanent identity cards.
1990 – “Basic Law”
NPC passed and enacted the “Basic Law”, which stipulated that Persons of Chinese nationality born outside Hong Kong of permanent residents of Hong Kong shall have the right of abode in Hong Kong and shall be qualified to obtain permanent identity cards, in Article 24.
3 July 1997
a large amount of children born in Mainland China whose parents are Hong Kong citizen approached the Immigration on the first working day after the handover, to request for right of abode in accordance with the “Basic Law”, 400 such applications were submitted in one week.
9 Jul 1997
the Provisional Legislative Council went through and passed the first, second and thrid reading of the “Immigrant (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 1997”, in which it stipulated that children born in Mainland China whose parents are Hong Kong citizen should have obtained the Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode first, before they are allowed to migrate to Hong Kong, and the requirement took effect retrospectively from 1 July 1997.
10 July 1997 – “ Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode”
the Government of the Special Administration Region of Hong Kong (HKSAR) adopted the “Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode” system, and required migrants from Mainland China should apply for their right of abode in the Mainland. Thousands of children born in Mainland China, whose parents are Hong Kong citizen applied for judicial review to challenge the requirement.
26 January 1998 – “High Court Ruling”
Judge of the High Court, Keith JA, ruled that children born in Mainland China before either of their parents had obtained the status of Hong Kong citizen should also be entitled to right of abode when the parents had obtained the status of permanent resident of Hong Kong.
29 January 1999 – “Ruling of the Court of Final Appeal”
Court of Final Appeal ruled that the Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode does not have to be attached in the One-Way Permit, and the requirement should not have retrospectivity, children born out of wedlock should also be entitled to the right of abode, children born in Mainland China whose parents are Hong Kong citizen should be entitled to right of abode, once their parents had obtained the right of abode.
8 April 1999 – “1.67 Million”
the then Secretary for Security of the Security Bureau, Regina Ip, announced, according to the ruling for the right of abode of children born in Mainland China whose parents are Hong Kong citizen of the Court of Final Appeal, 1.67 Million people would be qualified to migrate to and reside at Hong Kong, about 700 thousand among them could move to Hong Kong immediately.
6 May 1999
the HKSAR Government alleged that, for the expected addition of the children of Hong Kong citizen, a non-recurring financial expenditure of 7,100 billion dollars shall have to be added, and 6,000 hectares of land shall have to be developed for housing and infrastructures, in the coming 10 years.
18 May 1999 – “request for Reinterpretation of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Council (NPCSC) in defiance of the constitution*”
the Executive Council agreed for the Chief Executive (CE) to submit request to the State Council (SC) for the reinterpretation of the Clause 2 and 3 of Article 24 and Clause 4 of Article 22 of the Basic Law by the NPCSC, to resume the clauses of the Immigration Ordinance declared unconstitutional and ineffective by the Court of Final Appeal, to establish that the parents should have already been permanent residents of Hong Kong when their children were born in Mainland China, and to resume the One-Way Permit system.
request for Reinterpretation of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Council (NPCSC) in defiance of the constitution*
according to Article 158 of the Basic Law, “…The courts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may also interpret other provisions of this Law in adjudicating cases. However, if the courts of the Region, in adjudicating cases, need to interpret the provisions of this Law concerning affairs which are the responsibility of the Central People’s Government, or concerning the relationship between the Central Authorities and the Region, and if such interpretation will affect the judgments on the cases, the courts of the Region shall, before making their final judgments which are not appealable, seek an interpretation of the relevant provisions from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress through the Court of Final Appeal of the Region. …”, reinterpretation of the Basic Law by the standing committee of the NPCSC shall be sought by the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong. however, the reinterpretation in 1999 was decided by the Executive Council and the request was made to the State Council by the Chief Executive, the process was an defiance of the clause stipulated in the Basic Law.
26 June 1999 – “Reinterpretation of the Basic Law by NPCSC”
the NPCSC passed the reinterpretation of the Clause 2 and 3 of Article 24 and Clause 4 of Article 22 of the Basic Law, stating that only those children whose parents were already permannent residents of Hong Kong when the children was born could be entitled to right of abode in Hong Kong. the expected 1.67 Million children born in Mainland China of Hong Kong citizen, who were entitled to right of abode was substantially reduced to 270 thousand. This is the first-ever uncontitutional reinterpretation of the Basic Law by the NPCSC, which broke opened the Pandora’s Box and became a precedent of numerous unconstitutional reinterpretation later.
26 June 1999 – “Concession Policy”
the HKSAR Government decided and allowed the “Concession Policy” for those who came to Hong Kong during the period from 1 July 1997 to 29 January 1999, and had declared their right of abode status to the Government, numbering about 3,700 people. The Concession Policy was introduced, because according to Article 158 of the Basic Law, the Court of Final Appeal could request explanations from the NPCSC, but prior rulings shall not be affected. in the last sentence of the reinterpretation of the Basic Law by the NPCSC, it also said that the prior rulings shall not be affected.
30 June 1999 – “Protest March by the legal profession”
the reinterpretation of the Basic Law by NPCSC caused serious discontents from the legal profession, and a silent protest march while dressing in black was organised to express their discontents.
12 July 1999 – “Judicial Review of the reinterpretation of the Basic Law by the NPCSC”
children born in Mainland China whose parents are Hong Kong citizen, numbering 4,390 people, applied for judicial review, stating that the explanation of the Basic Law by NPCSC is not valid. later, people joined the complaint amounted to more than 5,000.
30 June 2000
the High Court pointed out in its ruling that, NPCSC had reinterpretated the Basic Law, and resumed the earlier laws, even though they sympathised with the situation of the people implicated, they could not order for the right of abode and residence of the children born in Mainland China whose parents are Hong Kong citizen.
20 July 2000
because of their losing of their appeal, the Immigration issued repatriation orders to more than 5,000 person, which caused anxieties among people struggling for the right of abode.
2 August 2000
23 people fighting for right of abode sat-in at the Immigration Department and demanded for the acknowledgement of their right of abode, and threatened self-immolation, an accidental fire broke out and caused the death of 1 immigration officer and 1 right of abode seeker.
20 July 2001
Court of Final Appeal ruled that, the boy, Chong Fung Yue, who was born in Hong Kong with both parents being residents of Mainland China should be entitled for right of abode, more than 2,000 similar cases entitled the same because of this case. on the other hand, the Court of Final Appeal ruled on the understanding of the clauses relating to the right of abode of children born in Mainland China whose parents are Hong Kong citizen that, the term “born” could only be explained as natural child, and therefore rejected the appeal by 3 children adopted in Mainland China.
25 July 2001
the Security Bureau said, the Immigration Department had principly approved residency at Hong Kong for the girl, Tam Nga Yin, adopted child of Hong Kong citizen in Mainland China on special reasons.
22 August 2001
when a few right of abode seekers were dinning at North Point, they were attacked by the customers at the next table with knife, 1 death and 1 injury were caused, the deceased was 24 years old Choi Ping Hung, the injured was 30 years old Choi Wing Lok.
morning of 10 January 2002
Court of Final Appeal ruled on the appeal of more than 5,000 person, more than 4,500 among them had their appeal rejected, only about 1,000 of them, who had received letter from the Legal Aid Department requesting them that it was unnecessary for them to apply for appeal in the period from 7 December 1998 to 29 January 1999, could get their right of abode, and among that 1,000 person, 600 was already benefited by the Concession Policy introduced in 26 June 1999, the actual beneficiaries of this ruling were just about 400 person.
afternoon of 10 January 2002 – “Deadline of Repatriation”
Chief Executive, Tung Kin Wah, made an announcement to required the right of abode seekers in Hong Kong to return to Mainland China on or before 31 March 2002, the expiry of the grace period, and the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department also promised that, those returned within the grace period would be treated with liniency.
January 2002 – “Occupation of Chater Garden”
Occupation of Chater Garden, endless protest with occupation and camping was announced, during which, rallies, sit-ins and hunger strikes were organised.
26 February 2002 – “Street Occupation Protest”
about 500 right of abode seekers whose appeals were rejected, marched from the Immigration Tower to the Central Government Offices. During which, they sat down on the middle of the road outside Cheung Kong Centre, and seriously affected the traffic of Central and Admiralty.
17 March 2002
200 person sat-in at Chater Garden, Central, and started an 2-weeks’ protest action, 60 among them were also on hunger strike.
25 April 2002 – “Besieging of Regina Ip, Demanding Dialogue”
Regina Ip was besieged in her official vehicle in the afternoon, to demand for dialogue, Regina Ip was eventually escorted away forcefully by the Police, the Police laid siege and locked-down Chater Garden in the evening for a period of time, and arrest a few people.
26 April 2002 – “Clearance of Chater Garden”
hundreds of Police seiged and locked-down Chater Garden totally in the afternoon, and took action to clear away all protestors inside and arrested people whose legal stay in Hong Kong had expired.
after 26 April 2002 – “Arrest at home’
joint operation of Immigration and Police were took, to raid the home address of the right of abode seekers, to arrest them at home. cases of forced entry were reported.
13 September 2002 – “establishment of the right of abode university”
more and more right of abode seekers either returned voluntarily or were being repatriated to Mainland China, many were stayed put at home because their legal stay were expired, Immigration and Police were arresting people at home, and forced them to leave with violent forces, it is becoming harder and harder for our children to meet and gather to participate in the actions. during my home visiting holiday last year, i went to the remote mountain area at Central Italy, where a brother named Don Milani served. brother Milani built a voluntary school there, and worked on that for decades, 12 hours a day, year-round, to serve the children and teenagers wholheartedly, until his return to the Kingdom of the Lord at 43 years of age (1945 – 1967). his legacy of education deeply affected the whole Italy, Europe, and even the world. when i returned to Hong Kong by the end of August and faced with the difficult situation of the struggle for right of abode, it dawned on me that, why didn’t i try and gather these friends in a similar fashion?
– Kam Ciai (Father Mella)
November 2002 – “establishment of superschool”
to meet the needs of some of right of abode seekers at a younger age, the “superschool” for children at a younger age was established after the right of abode university.
beginning of November 2002 – “continuous struggling by the parents”
parents of right of abode seekers sat-in at the Central Government Offices in every Tuesdays and Fridays. steadfastly demand for the right of abode of their children.
26 November 2003 – “the 1.67 Million Lie”
then Secretary for Security of the Security Bureau, Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong, admitted in a meeting of the Legislative Council, that the 1.67 Million was an estimated figure based on a topical research of the Census and Statistics Department, and there was no solid data for the figure.
after repeated demands by various people’s organisations, the House Committee of the Legislative Council passed and established the “Subcommittee to Study Issues Relating to Mainland-HKSAR Families”
1 April 2011 – “children older than the age limit”
from 1 April 2011, the “children older than the age limit” of Hong Kong citizen, could apply for One-Way Permit to migrate to and reside in Hong Kong, for reunion with their parents, according to the information on application issued by the Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration of the Ministry of Public Security of PRC, the applicant should be below the age of 14 years, when their natural parents obtained the Hong Kong Identity Card on or before 1 November 2001, and their parent were still residing in Hong Kong on 1 April 2011, such person could apply for One-Way Permit to migrate to and reside in Hong Kong, for reunion with their parents.
the natural parents of the applicant had obtained the Hong Kong Identity Card on or before 31 December 1979.
the natural parents of the applicant had obtained the Hong Kong Identity Card in 1980.
addition of 1 year per phase for the year when the natural parents of the applicant had obtained the Hong Kong Identity Card.
basically, the family reunion cases of the children of “appropriate age” and “over aged” of the “fight for right of abode for children born in Mainland China whose parent are Hong Kong People movement” have all been processed. however, arrangement for the family reunion for the “over-over aged” children are yet to be seen. the right of abode for children born in Mainland China whose parent are Hong Kong People has not been vindicated and has been forgotten. the unconstitutional interpretation of the Basic Law by NPCSC that striped rights of Hong Kong People has not been challenged and set right.
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