By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
About 100 local residents took to the streets yesterday, criticising the Government for not allowing their adult children to move from the Mainland to Macau.
The protest, organised by three local grassroots workers’ associations, began at 1 pm in Areia Preta and went passed Avenida de Horta e Costa and Rua do Campo.
The parents were stopped by the Public Security Police in front of the Catholic Centre, opposite the China Plaza where the Identification Bureau is situated.
A representative from the bureau came down to receive a petition but the protesters rejected the representative and insisted on seeing the bureau’s director Lai Ieng Kit.
The Macau permanent residents, who have adult children living in the Mainland, said that they have been longing for a family reunion for seven years.
They slammed the Government for being “irresponsible and treating the adult children unequally”, despite their parents all being permanent residents of Macau.
In the petition letter the parents also claimed that around 6,000 adult children already have their Macau residency applications approved whilst another 3,000 have been rejected to reunite with their parents in Macau.
During the rally, the protesters also called for Secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda Chan and Lai Ieng Kit to step down.
In a statement issued by the Identification Bureau yesterday, it reiterated that the SAR Government believed that the adult children issue has already been “reasonably and satisfactorily solved”.
“Based on Article 22 of the Macau Basic Law, to approve Mainland residents to reside in Macau is within the central government’s authority. Therefore, Macau residents’ family members in the Mainland have to file applications to the Mainland departments in line with the existing regulations,” the Identification Bureau stated.
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:
Either the father or mother must have been given the Macau identity card on or before November 1, 2001; the child had not yet reached the age of 14 years on or before November 1, 2001, and the parent is still residing in Macau and holding the Macau identity card at present.
Applications have already started since December 1, 2009 and will be processed and approved by the Mainland authorities.
The issue of family reunion has been discussed in Macau over the past few years, leading to protests and pressure from the parents residing in the territory.