Weeping parents petition for mainland children

Friday, December 4, 2009
Issue 886, Page 1 & 5
Word count: 659
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Nearly a hundred of heartbroken local parents who do not meet the conditions for getting their adult children in the mainland to reside in Macau, petitioned the SAR government and the Chinese Liaison Office for equal treatment yesterday.

According to the regulations of China’s public security authorities, if a Macau resident wishes to obtain residency in Macau for their mainland adult children, three main conditions must have to be met.

They are: either the father or mother must have been given the Macau identity card on or before November 1, 2001, the child did not yet reach 14 years old when the parent was issued the Macau identity card, and also the parent is still residing in Macau and holding the Macau identity card at present.

Applications have already started since December 1 and will be processed and approved by the mainland authorities.

The parents, who are mainly at their 40s or 50s, gathered outside of the government headquarters office at around 2.30pm to hold up a banner that reads “Requesting for family reunions, requesting for fair treatment, requesting for the same treatment among all men alike”.

They also wrote down their names and phone numbers which were then handed in to a government representative with the petition together.

Afterwards the crowd walked to the Chinese Liaison Office in Macau to deliver another petition.

Leong Soi Lan, 76 years old, who was one of the concerned parents, shedded tears of sorrow when talking to reporters about her three children still living in the mainland.

Her husband, Pun Pui Tang at 82 years old, is also a Macau resident.

Leong came to Macau in 1979 when her youngest child, a son, was 18 years old. She said that she had been trying very hard to save money in order to buy a house big enough to live with her two sons and daughter.

“We’re all Chinese, why can’t we get the same treatment? I have been hoping my children to come to Macau for years and now they told me there is age restriction,” she said.

“They [the government] let illegal immigrants enter Macau but why not our children?” she added, starting to take out her and her husband’s identity cards to show to reporters.

Lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong, who went to the government headquarters with the crowd, said that formal dialogues between the parents and the government are needed in order to calm the parents’ down.

On December 1 the first day of applications, around a hundred of parents also gathered at the Identification Bureau calling for equal treatment over the residence conditions.

According to Ng, the government should meet with the parents in order to prevent chaos in society.

“The Chief Executive has set up a committee specially to deal with this family reunion issue and before the legislative election, he made a high-profile claim about how he would solve the problem. These were all political decisions. And now the government also has the responsibility to resolve the controversies resulted from their decisions,” the lawmaker told reporters.

Ng also said that at the same time the SAR government needs to introduce measures to pacify the rest of the Macau residents.

“It has to further cut the number of imported workers and ensure full employment opportunities for local people. The adult children are mainly between 20 and 40 years old who need to get a job after coming to Macau,” he said.

“These adult children should not be able to enjoy public housing and other government welfare immediately, but they will still need a place to live. So the supply of non-luxury apartments including public housing [for other locals] must be increased,” he added.

When asked what would be a fair treatment for the parents, the lawmaker said that it is more appropriate for the government to decide as “the committee has been following up the issue for half a year and should know all the details very well”.

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