News / Asia

Seat Panic: Hong Kong Parents Fight Influx of Mainland Children

A foreign domestic helper carrying a child walks with another child outside a school in Hong Kong, Feb. 26, 2013. A foreign domestic helper carrying a child walks with another child outside a school in Hong Kong, Feb. 26, 2013.
x
A foreign domestic helper carrying a child walks with another child outside a school in Hong Kong, Feb. 26, 2013.
A foreign domestic helper carrying a child walks with another child outside a school in Hong Kong, Feb. 26, 2013.
VOA News
Parents in Hong Kong say they are organizing for a protest Sunday against mainland Chinese children taking scarce spots in the territory's pre-schools.

October is the main month for registering young children for Hong Kong's pre-schools, with parents fighting for space in an annual rush that locals call "seat panic."

Parents said this year has been even worse than normal, with massive registration lines and mainland parents camping out for up to a week to secure a spot for their children. The spectacle has been front page fodder for Hong Kong's newspapers this month.

The mainland children, who have citizenship on the basis of their birth in Hong Kong, are allowed spaces in the crowded pre-school system on an equal basis with children who reside in Hong Kong. That is what a growing group of parents want the government to change.

They said they wanted to be given priority placement over families that live in nearby Guangdong province.

The battle is part of a larger concern among residents of Hong Kong, which is already very crowded.

A woman who only wanted to be identified as Ms. Tang, told VOA's Cantonese service that people from across the border were making things very difficult for local parents.

"The mainlanders grab milk powders, hospital beds and kindergarten seats. They grab everything. The situation is more serious in north Hong Kong. There have been very long lines this year," she said.

But the allure of attending pre-school in Hong Kong is highly prized by many mainlanders, who are willing to make many sacrifices for their kids to get in. A mother who identified herself as Ms. Chan said that having her child go to a Hong Kong pre-school was worth the headaches.

"It would be a lot of hardship to cross the border to go to school in Hong Kong, so I don't want my kid to get up at 6 a.m. every morning and spend half a day traveling, so I want to buy a flat and live in Hong Kong, and let my husband commute to work in Shenzhen [mainland China] instead," she said.

The Hong Kong government has said it is taking the complaints seriously. Some parents said that officials have privately offered some possible concessions, such as online registration and proximity priority within the territory. But they said the proposals were not enough.

(This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Cantonese service.)

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid