SCMP Thursday, June 21, 2001

Abode-seekers stage vigil on eve of court hearing


About 200 abode-seekers staged a peaceful candle-lit vigil outside Central Government Offices last night on the eve of a Court of Final Appeal hearing on two separate abode cases.
The test cases could decide the fate of mainland children adopted by Hong Kong parents.
The abode-seekers lit candles in the shape of a large heart to mark Mother's Day.
Right of Abode Committee member Fu Ka-wai said: "This could well be their last protest no matter what the ruling will be."
Father Franco Mella, who has been fighting for the abode-seekers, said no matter how the Court of Final Appeal ruling turned out, he hoped the Government would grant them ID cards.
He also hoped the administration would release 42 migrants, including 22 who are awaiting trial.
In today's hearings, the Government will challenge a ruling which gave mainland children adopted by Hong Kong parents right of abode.
Mr Justice Brian Keith ruled in favour of four adopted children involved in test cases - Tam Nga-yin, 12, Lui Yiu-leung, five, Xie Xiaoyi, three, and Chan Wai-wah, two.
The Government argued the Basic Law gave right of abode to people born of a permanent resident and this could not include adopted children.
Mr Justice Keith's judgment was delivered the day before the National People's Congress Standing Committee delivered its reinterpretation of the Basic Law on June 26, 1999.
The reinterpretation, requested by the SAR Government to prevent an alleged influx of 1.6 million, restricted those qualifying for right of abode.
It did not mention adopted children, but did require migrants to obtain permission to come to Hong Kong.