Cross-border propagandize rush stokes Hong Kong-China tensions

HONG KONG One new winter dawn, some-more than 100 mainland Chinese relatives started backing adult outward a primary propagandize in Hong Kong, to try to bind Grade One places for their children.

They were among 700 relatives competing for 550 propagandize spots in an area circuitously a limit with a mainland that has turn a magnet for people in Shenzhen and circuitously cities who wish their Hong Kong-born children prepared in a Asian financial hub.

“It was totally unexpected. We had to start another queue,” pronounced a school’s principal, Siu May-cheuk. “Parents are only fearful that a propagandize will be filled with mainland children.”

The allure is a better, some-more magnanimous credentials and general opportunities in Hong Kong. Every day, around 20,000 students are shuttled opposite a limit from a mainland, dressed in neat Hong Kong propagandize uniforms and lugging their bags on trains and franchised buses.

Since a former British cluster returned to Chinese order in 1997, both sides have integrated some-more closely, with a inundate of Chinese visitors bringing mercantile advantages to Hong Kong.

But a liquid has also caused rancour and strains in a city of 7 million people, from swarming maternity wards to mountainous unit prices, besides a hasten for schools.

Roughly a entertain of births in Hong Kong between 2002 and 2012 – or some-more than 200,000 babies – were to couples who both came from mainland China.

Birth in Hong Kong cumulative residency for a children and concomitant benefits, including giveaway education. Some mothers chose to give birth in Hong Kong to equivocate fines for breaching China’s one-child policy.

As some-more of these children reached propagandize age, their numbers in schools in Hong Kong’s northern districts jumped 27 percent in 2012 from a prior year, to 16,000, upsetting some internal parents.

“Hong Kong children should have priority. The cross-border kids live distant divided in Shenzhen,” pronounced Tong Kwan-fu, a father of a six-year-old during a propagandize where half of a pupils invert from a mainland.

“My friends all determine that a complement is unfair.”

Housing prices have also risen neatly in propagandize catchment areas as Chinese relatives snap adult apartments to equivocate prolonged journeys. Some skill agents contend one in 5 flats in such limit zones are now bought by mainland Chinese.

Prices in Hong Kong’s North and Yuen Long districts soared 50 percent and 44 percent, respectively, in a scarcely 3 years to Nov 2013, outstripping a arise of 31 percent arise for Hong Kong overall, according to Midland Research.

“Many mainland families cite to buy first-hand homes in credentials for their kids entrance to schools in Hong Kong,” pronounced Ken Chan, an representative with Centaline Property in a northern Fanling area circuitously a border.


Last year, a trend stirred Hong Kong to exercise a “zero smoothness quota” process to keep mainland mothers but a Hong Kong father from giving birth in a territory.

Authorities will “strive to assuage a vigour outset from a direct for internal propagandize places by children innate to non-local parents”, Hong Kong personality Leung Chun-ying pronounced recently.

The new process has slashed to fewer than 300 a series of births to mainland relatives in Hong Kong’s hospitals final year, from a rise of around 35,000 in 2011, central total show. In 2012, 359 mainland women were jailed for adult to 8 months for overstaying to give birth in Hong Kong.

While a moves have eased pressure, a liquid of children is building all a approach adult a credentials system.

“There will be tough foe for university entrance if we do not yield additional places,” pronounced Jianfa Shen, a demographer during a Chinese University in Hong Kong.

In a subsequent decade, an additional 20,000 students a year are expected to strive for singular Hong Kong university spots, he said.

With mainland relatives looking to Hong Kong as a many magnanimous city in China, a educational aspirations seem doubtful to fade.

“The atmosphere in Hong Kong is totally different,” pronounced Christina Wong, who runs a swift of 35 buses holding about 4,000 children opposite a limit daily, including dual of her own.

“They wish their child to grow adult to be a chairman with firmness and know a order of law … They wish their kids to be genuine Hong Kongers.”

(Editing by John O’Callaghan and Clarence Fernandez)