LC Paper No. CB(2) 136/99-00
(These minutes have been seen by the Administration)
Ref : CB2/PL/CA
Panel on Constitutional Affairs
Minutes of Special MeetingMembers Present :
held on Friday, 25 June 1999 at 10:45 am
in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP (Chairman)
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Martin LEE Chu-ming, SC, JP
Hon Margaret NG
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon SZETO Wah
Members Absent :
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon Christine LOH
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Member Attending :
Public Officers Attending :
- Hon NG Leung-sing
Clerk in Attendance :
- Mr Clement C H MAK
- Secretary for Constitutional Affairs (Acting)
- Ms Carol YIP
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Constitutional Affairs
- Mr Timothy TONG
- Deputy Secretary for Security
- Miss Cathy CHU
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Security
- Mr R C ALLCOCK
- Deputy Law Officer
- Department of Justice
- Mr Peter WONG
- Senior Assistant Solicitor General (Basic Law Unit)
Department of Justice
- Mr Frederick W H HO
- Commissioner for Census and Statistics
- Mr H K TSOI
- Principal Immigration Officer
Staff in Attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM
- Assistant Secretary General 2
- Mr Jimmy MA
- Legal Adviser
- Mr LAW Wing-lok
- Chief Assistant Secretary (2)5
1. The Chairman welcomed representatives of the Administration to the meeting. He suggested that items (6) and (7) be dealt with at another meeting, as it was unlikely that all the items of business on the agenda could be completed in one meeting. Members agreed.
2. Miss Emily LAU asked whether the Administration's decision to request the State Council to ask the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) for an interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Basic Law was prompted by the remarks made by certain officials of the Central People's Government that the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) judgment on the right of abode (ROA) cases was wrong.
3. Acting Secretary for Constitutional Affairs (Ag SCA) responded that as stated in the Chief Executive (CE)'s Report to the State Council, the reason for seeking an interpretation from the NPCSC was because the CFA's interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Basic Law was different from the HKSAR Government's understanding of the wording, purpose and legislative intent of those provisions and various facts indicated that the CFA's interpretation might not reflect the legislative intent of the relevant provisions. He said that he had nothing to add to what was stated in the Report.
4. Dr YEUNG Sum asked whether the remarks of the Central People's Government officials implied that the CFA did not have the power of final adjudication.
5. Ag SCA replied that there was no question of the Administration seeking to overturn the CFA judgment. He added that the Secretary for Justice (SJ) had explained at the special House Committee meeting on 18 May 1999 that the CFA judgment on the ROA cases would remain binding on the parties concerned and that the power of final adjudication vested in the CFA would not be affected by the Administration's request for an NPCSC interpretation.
6. Mr Martin LEE asked whether there was any precedent, prior to the reunification, where the Hong Kong Government having lost a case in the Privy Council considered the Privy Council's decision to be wrong.
7. Deputy Law Officer (Dep LO) said that he was not aware of any decision of the Privy Council being called into question. However, he pointed out that there were certainly cases where decisions of the House of Lords were nullified as a result of subsequent legislation passed by Parliament.
8. Mr Martin LEE further said that when a judgment was given by the Privy Council in respect of an appeal case from a British colony, the judgment became a binding precedent for the whole of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. The only way for the government concerned to have the effect of the judgment overturned was to change the law. It was therefore not for the HKSAR Government to say that the CFA judgment was wrong and seek an NPCSC interpretation which would become the binding precedent in place of the CFA judgment.
9. Dep LO said that after reunification Hong Kong had a new constitutional order and what happened before reunification did not necessarily mean that the same situation would prevail now. He pointed out that there was a difference between the CFA's power of final adjudication and the power of final interpretation vested in the NPCSC. The Administration had emphasized time and again that the CFA judgment on the ROA cases was final so far as the parties to the cases were concerned and would remain so even if the NPCSC interpreted the relevant provisions of the Basic Law in a different way from the CFA. However, the CFA's interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Basic Law could, as a matter of law, be changed by the NPCSC which was vested with the power of final interpretation of the Basic Law. He added that the courts would have to follow the NPCSC interpretation when adjudicating ROA cases in the future.
10. Miss Emily LAU said that her understanding of the CFA's power of final adjudication was that the CFA had the power to interpret the relevant articles of the Basic Law and give its verdict which became the law on eligibility for ROA, and those who claimed ROA would have their claims determined in accordance with such law as laid down by the CFA. Referring to the statements in Dep LO's article in the South China Morning Post on 24 June 1999 and Mr Ian WINGFIELD's letter to LegCo's Legal Adviser of 17 June 1999, Miss LAU considered that the Administration had sought to separate those who won in the "test cases" in January this year from those who were similarly situated as the applicants in the "test cases" but would be rendered ineligible for ROA as a result of the NPCSC interpretation. In her view, the effect of seeking an NPCSC interpretation was to have the CFA judgment overturned.
11. Dep LO responded that under the common law system in the United Kingdom, an authoritative interpretation of a piece of legislation by the House of Lords operated retrospectively to the date when the legislation was enacted. Such interpretation would not affect cases which had already been decided but would be applicable to other comparable cases subsequently coming before the courts for decision. He added that the Administration would implement the NPCSC interpretation in accordance with the practice adopted in common law jurisdictions.
12. In response to Miss Emily LAU, Dep LO said that he would provide members with details of a recent House of Lords' decision that had the effect of reversing an earlier court decision on a point of law.
(Post-meeting note : Dep LO' letter of 29 June 1999 enclosing the relevant extracts of the House of Lords decision was circulated to members vide LC Paper No. CB(2) 2449/98-99 on 30 June 1999)
13. Dr YEUNG Sum said that the example given by Dep LO was not entirely relevant as the Chinese legal system was different from the British legal system. Dr YEUNG Sum was of the view that the seeking of an interpretation of the Basic Law from the NPCSC had seriously undermined the common law system practised in Hong Kong and should this course of action be resorted to too often in the future, Hong Kong would become no different from any Chinese city, such as Shanghai.
14. Dep LO said that there had already been a change to some extent in Hong Kong's legal system in that the NPCSC had the power of final interpretation of the Basic Law as provided in Article 158 of the Basic law. He added that the Administration had emphasized on numerous occasions that it would seek an NPCSC interpretation only in the most exceptional circumstances.
15. Mr James TO said that he had received a number of complaints from persons in similar circumstances as the applicants in the "test cases" that they were told by staff of the Security Bureau and Immigration Department that there was no need for them to submit applications as the CFA decision on the "test cases" would apply to them as well. This was contrary to what was stated in Mr WINGFIELD's letter of 17 June 1999 to the Legal Adviser that persons who would be covered by the "test cases" included only those whom the Director of Immigration had agreed would receive the same treatment as the litigants in the "test cases", but not those who were identified after the CFA judgment. Mr TO further said that it was likely that the persons concerned would initiate legal proceedings against the Government. Dr YEUNG Sum asked the Administration to investigate these complaints.
16. Deputy Secretary for Security (DS for S) said that it would facilitate the Administration's investigation if Mr TO could provide specific details about the complaints. DS for S pointed out that many people in the community had expressed the view that the selection of a few cases to be tried as "test cases" in order to save public funds and time was an appropriate arrangement. He added that under such an arrangement, a number of claimants had registered their claims with the Immigration Department. DS for S further said that pending the outcome of the HKSARG's request for an interpretation by the NPCSC, no final decision had been taken on how to handle the claims, including those cases involving persons who claimed that their circumstances were the same as the applicants in the "test cases" but had not lodged ROA claims with the Director of Immigration prior to the CFA ruling.
17. Mr NG Leung-sing asked whether the Administration had, in anticipation of the NPCSC interpretation, drawn up measures for dealing with different categories of persons who would be affected by the NPCSC interpretation. Ag SCA said that the NPCSC had been asked to make an interpretation of Articles 22(4) and 24(2)(3) of the Basic Law according to their true legislative intent. The Administration would have to await the outcome of the NPCSC interpretation before it was in a position to determine the measures to be adopted in dealing with the affected persons in accordance with the terms of the interpretation.
18. Miss Margaret NG asked whether an amendment bill had been drafted to implement the NPCSC interpretation, and if so, when the Administration would let Members have sight of the amendment bill. Ag SCA responded that no such amendment bill had been prepared.
19. Miss Margaret NG declared interest as she was one of the counsels representing 17 Mainland overstayers who sought a judicial review of the Director of Immigration's removal orders against them. Miss NG pointed out that at the time when a large number of persons in similar circumstances as the 17 overstayers gathered outside the Legal Aid Department's office enquiring about legal aid assistance, notices were put up in the Department's office advising such persons that it was not necessary to bring similar proceedings against the Director of Immigration as the court ruling on the 17 overstayers would apply equally to them. This had prevented hundreds of persons who might have submitted applications for legal aid to bring legal proceedings against the Government from submitting applications. However, in the light of what was stated in Mr WINGFIELD's letter to the Legal Adviser, she queried whether the advice of the Legal Aid Department had been correct.
20. DS for S said that the Legal Aid Department operated independently and there was no question of the Security Bureau giving directions to the Department as to how applications for legal aid should be handled. He pointed out that there were another 100 persons who claimed that their circumstances were similar to the 17 overstayers, some of whom were however found to have arrived after the delivery of the CFA judgment on 29 January 1999. He added that it was clear from Mr WINGFIELD's letter that those who arrived after the CFA judgment could not claim to be parties involved in the CFA judgment.
21. Miss NG expressed reservations on the statements in Mr WINGFIELD's letter and said that the question of who would be regarded as being covered by the "test cases" should be determined according to the court's direction, rather than on the basis that the persons concerned had been registered by the Director of Immigration. She considered that the Legal Aid Department must have consulted the Director of Immigration, who was a party to the proceedings brought by the 17 overstayers, before advising persons in similar situation as the 17 overstayers not to submit applications. In her view, the "test case" arrangement was only an administrative expediency and the Administration should deal with other ROA cases in accordance with the CFA judgment.
22. DS for S said that although he had highlighted the effects of the "test cases" as set out in Mr WINGFIELD's letter, the main thrust of the letter was that the Administration had to study the terms of the NPCSC interpretation before it could determine what effect the interpretation would have on persons who might otherwise be affected by the CFA judgment. He further said that there was prior consultation between the Legal Aid Department, Security Bureau and Immigration Department regarding the handling of cases involving those persons who had reached an agreement with the Director of Immigration that they were to be covered by the "test cases". He added that Mr James TO was probably referring to this group of persons when he mentioned earlier that staff of the Security Bureau and Immigration Department had advised people not to submit applications.
|23. Mr James TO said that there were indeed instances where staff of the Immigration Department had advised other ROA claimants in similar circumstances as the litigants in the "test cases" not to submit applications. The Chairman asked the Administration to investigate whether there had been such occurrences.
24. Dep LO reiterated that the Administration would have to await the announcement of the NPCSC interpretation before it could determine who would or would not benefit from the principle that judgments previously rendered by the CFA would not be affected. He added that in implementing the NPCSC interpretation, the Administration would consider whether or not those persons who might have been, but were not, directly involved in the CFA proceedings should continue to be bound by the CFA judgment.
25. Mr Martin LEE pointed out that he had said at the special meeting of the Panel on 12 June 1999 that the CE Report to the State Council was one-sided as it did not contain any dissenting views voiced by different sectors in the community. He asked whether the Administration had attempted to put forward such dissenting views to the NPCSC prior to its interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Basic Law.
26. Ag SCA said that the dissenting views were included in the 19 volumes of public views on the ROA issue which were submitted to the State Council together with the CE Report. He added that prior to its interpretation, the NPCSC had to consult its Committee for the Basic Law and that local NPC deputies had attended meetings of the NPCSC sub-groups to give their views.
27. Mr LEE said that from his experience as a drafter of the Basic Law, the NPCSC would not look at the 19 separate volumes which were not even included as an appendix to the CE Report. Ag SCA responded that he did not share Mr LEE's view.
28. Miss Emily LAU said that given the number of persons who would be qualified for ROA under the CFA judgment was estimated to be about 1.675 million, the CFA judgment would be overturned if, following the NPCSC interpretation, the number of eligible persons was reduced to less than 200 000. She asked whether what Mr WINGFIELD had stated in his letter about the effects of the "test cases" represented the Administration's position.
29. The Legal Adviser explained that at the request of Mr James TO, he had written to the Administration on 20 May 1999 seeking clarification on several points relating to the effects of the "test cases", to which Mr WINGFIELD had responded in his letter dated 17 June 1999. The Chairman said that both letters had been circulated to Members. The Legal Adviser added that the Legal Service Division had also provided a paper on "Binding effect of a test case on the Government" (LC Paper No. LS 192/98-99) for the House Committee at its meeting held on 18 May 1999.
30. Miss Margaret NG said that unlike a precedent case, a test case involved the testing of an issue of principle common to a large number of potential litigants and the parties concerned agreed that a few cases were selected and a court order obtained to have them tried as test cases. She pointed out that the CFA's decision on "the birth out of wedlock issue" in the CHEUNG Lai-wah's case and on "the time of birth issue" in the CHAN Kam-nga's case had changed the law governing these two issues. She considered that the Government was bound to apply the "new" law in handling similar cases arising in the future.
31. The Legal Adviser said in so far as the "test cases" were concerned, the Government as a party to the proceedings was legally bound by the decision of the court vis-a-vis the parties affected. He pointed out that what Mr WINGFIELD had stated in his letter was that certain applicants were covered by the "test cases" on the instructions of the court and the particulars of these applicants were detailed in the correspondence exchanged between the parties concerned. The CFA's decision in respect of the "test cases" would apply to these applicants and their rights would not be affected by the NPCSC interpretation. He further said that it was also mentioned in Mr WINGFIELD's letter that the effect of the NPCSC interpretation on persons who might otherwise be affected by the CFA judgment would not be known until after the terms of the NPCSC interpretation were announced.
32. Mr James TO said that many of the 670 000 Mainland residents who were eligible for ROA as a result of the CFA judgment were likely to initiate court proceedings claiming the same treatment as that enjoyed by the litigants in the "test cases". He asked whether the Administration would consider making known to these persons the procedure involved in initiating such proceedings.
33. The Chairman asked whether in the case of a person whose father had not yet acquired permanent resident status at the time of his birth and who was staying in Hong Kong on a Two-way Permit but his father had now died, the rights of the person concerned would be affected if the NPCSC interpretation was contrary to the CFA judgment. The Chairman opined that such a person should be covered by the "test cases" irrespective of whether he had submitted an ROA claim before or after 29 January 1999.
34. Dep LO said that the Administration was aware of the concerns expressed by members about persons eligible for ROA under the CFA judgment but who were not directly involved in the CFA proceedings and who had not registered with the Immigration Department. He reiterated that whether or not these persons would benefit from the CFA judgment would depend on the terms of the NPCSC interpretation which would be known in a few days' time.
35. Miss Margaret NG said that Dep LO had stated on several occasions that there was a difference between "final adjudication" and "final interpretation". She asked whether the split between adjudication and interpretation was a fundamental change in the system of law in Hong Kong and whether the Administration could provide justification that there had always been a difference between the two.
|36. Dep LO said that the distinction between interpreting what a statute meant and the rights of the parties which had been adjudicated by a court existed in the common law system, and there was House of Lords authority to that effect. If the House of Lords changed the interpretation which had been given to a statute by different courts previously, that interpretation of the statute operated retrospectively to the date when the statute was enacted but would not affect cases which had already been adjudicated by the courts. In response to Miss NG, Dep LO said that he would provide members with documents explaining the difference between "final adjudication" and "final interpretation" under the common law system.
|37. Mr Martin LEE asked the Administration to provide members with a report on the recent Beijing trip made by SJ and S for S. Dep LO responded that SJ had already briefed the House Committee on the Beijing trip at its meeting on 18 May 1999. In response to Mr James TO's remark that SJ and S for S had made another visit to Beijing after 18 May 1999, Dep LO said that he would attempt to provide members with information on the visit.
38. Mr Martin LEE further asked when the NPCSC would announce its interpretation of Articles 22(4) and 24(2)(3) of the Basic Law. Ag SCA said that the Administration had yet to confirm the exact date.
39. Dr YEUNG Sum asked the Commissioner for Census & Statistics (C for C&S) to report on the progress of the special survey on Mainland residents with ROA in Hong Kong conducted by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD).
40. Referring to the paper on the "Final Result of the Special Topic Enquiry on the Hong Kong Residents with Spouses/Children in the Mainland" which he tabled at the meeting (at Appendix), C for C&S said that the final results showed that the number of newly eligible persons of the first and second generations were 693 000 and 910 000 respectively, as compared with the corresponding figures of 692 000 and 983 000 obtained at the mid-term stage of the survey. He added that the final figures did not differ much from the interim figures released at the end of April, which served to dispel the concern expressed by some people that views expressed in the community on the ROA issue following the release of the interim figures might have significantly influenced the respondents' attitude in answering questions during the second-half of the survey. He further said that due to the constraints of the survey methodology, the number of Mainland children of those Hong Kong permanent residents who had deceased or emigrated was not reflected in the survey results. He also pointed out that the data obtained from the "direct questioning method", which was used in asking questions on the sensitive issue of "children born out of registered marriage", was not reliable as many respondents gave perfunctory answers to the questions asked. For this issue, data obtained from the "Randomized Response Technique" had to be used.
41. In response to Mr James TO's enquiry about the figure of 329 000 second generation children born within registered marriage referred to in the paper, C for C&S said that the figure included children of the 188 000 first generation persons born within registered marriage as well as children of the 98 000 persons who had ROA prior to the CFA ruling but who had not yet come to Hong Kong for settlement.
42. Dr YEUNG Sum said that the final figure on the total number of "children born out of registered marriage" and their children differed from the interim figure by as much as 79 000, and asked how C for C&S would respond to the reservations on the interim survey results expressed by some academics at the special House Committee meetings held on 11 and 13 May 1999. He also asked why there was no mention in the paper about the respondents' intention for their Mainland children to come to live in Hong Kong.
43. C for C&S said that such discrepancies were bound to occur in any sample survey. He pointed out that a comparison of the interim and final figures on the total number of persons eligible for ROA as a result of the CFA ruling showed a discrepancy rate of about 4.3%, which was below the expected rate of 5% - 10%. He added that more detailed breakdown on the findings of the survey would be set out in the Final Report which was expected to be released in mid-July.
44. C for C&S further said that those academics who had expressed reservations on the survey results were mainly experts in the economics field. Some statisticians on the other hand had expressed the view that given the constraints, the survey findings were reasonably accurate and that no other source could provide more accurate results. He added that information on the respondents' intention for their children to come to live in Hong Kong would be included in the Final Report.
45. Dr YEUNG Sum asked whether the academics who attended the two meetings in May should be invited to come again to discuss the final survey findings. The Chairman said that members could consider whether it was necessary to discuss the final results with the academics after the publication of the Final Report.
46. Miss Emily LAU asked whether further details on the survey findings had been provided to the academics concerned to enable them to make a more comprehensive assessment of the survey results. C for C&S responded that he had since exchanged views with the academics concerned and had also given talks at several tertiary education institutions to explain the methodology and survey findings.
47. Mr Martin LEE asked whether C&SD would provide the raw data, without disclosing the identity of respondents, to the academics for study. C for C&S said that such data would not be released to outsiders on account of the need to safeguard the confidentiality of data obtained from the surveys. C for C&S added that standing arrangements existed to facilitate researchers' studies although the raw data sets were not released. Academics and statisticians could approach him if they wished to carry out research work.
48. Mr Martin LEE further asked whether an estimate was made on the number of eligible Mainland residents who would exercise their ROA and come to Hong Kong for settlement. C for C&S responded that no such estimate was made as it was outside the scope of the survey. C for C&S pointed out that those Hong Kong residents with their Mainland children born within registered marriage were asked whether they wished their Mainland children to come to live in Hong Kong. They were also asked about their perception of whether their Mainland children wished to come to live in Hong Kong. However, it was not possible to ask such questions through the "randomized response technique" used in collecting data on children born out of registered marriage.
49. Miss Emily LAU asked whether the Administration was aware of any precedent case where a major decision was made on the strength of the data collected during the mid-term stage of a survey. She also asked why the estimate of 30 000 children born out of registered marriage derived from the "direct questioning method" ("DQM") was considered severely under-reported and whether the Administration had a pre-determined figure on such children in mind.
50. C for C&S responded that his department was often asked to produce preliminary or interim survey data in order to provide timely statistics for reference by the Administration in its decision-making process. He further said that given that many respondents were found to give perfunctory answers to the sensitive questions asked on "children born out of registered marriage" through the DQM, the estimate of the number of such children based on the data collected from the DQM was deemed to be unreliable and subject to a high degree of under-reporting. He added that such a phenomenon was not unusual and cited the example of the survey on abortion undertaken in Alberta in 1975 where the number of cases identified through the "randomized response technique" was in excess of 10 000 as compared with a mere 1 000-plus cases identified through the DQM. He emphasized that the Administration had no pre-determined estimate of the number of children born out of registered marriage.
51. Mr NG Leung-sing asked whether it was an internationally-accepted practice to release the raw data after the completion of a survey. He further asked whether the C&SD would consider releasing two sets of results based on the data obtained from a survey, with one set of results containing raw data which would not be disclosed and the other set containing raw data which had the agreement of the data subjects concerned for release to outsiders.
52. C for C&S said that the matter was a controversial one. In countries where raw data sets were released there usually would be a supportive community attitude and well-organized data archives with rigorous legal backing and adequate resources provisions. In Hong Kong, data subjects were extremely demanding in regard to the privacy of individual data. He reiterated that academics and other interested parties could approach him if they required further details on the survey findings. He further said that Mr NG Leung-sing's suggestion of releasing two sets of survey results was not a practical one as the representativeness of the survey results would be cast in doubt. He stressed that it was important to maintain public confidence in the ability of his department to safeguard confidentiality of survey data.
53. The Chairman asked whether the House Committee or the Panel on Constitutional Affairs should follow up the ROA issue following the announcement of the terms of the NPCSC's interpretation.
54. Miss Emily LAU suggested that the matter be discussed at the House Committee meeting to be held in the afternoon. Members agreed.
55. The Chairman thanked the Administration's representatives for attending the meeting.
56. The meeting ended at 12:55 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
19 October 1999
Special Meeting of LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs on 25.6.1999
Final Results of the Special Topic Enquiry on
"Hong Kong Residents with Spouses/Children in the Mainland"
Conducted by the Census & Statistics Department
1. Interim figures of the captioned survey and some technical details were contained in a paper submitted to a special meeting of the House Committee of the Legislative Council held on 6 May 1999.
2. In early June, fieldwork for the entire survey was completed. Processing of data collected is being carried out currently.
3. At this stage the Census & Statistics Department is in a position to release the key figures. These are presented in the table attached in a format similar to that contained in the document mentioned in para. 1 above.
4. A report on the survey results will be ready in mid-July. Apart from analysis on the characteristics of Mainland children born to Hong Kong residents, it will also contain other information such as the characteristics of these Hong Kong residents and their spouses in the Mainland.
5. A few points to note in reading the data in the attached table are :
- specific details on classification of "children born within registered marriage" and "children born out of registered marriage" are available in the document mentioned in para. 1 above;
- the "Randomized Response Technique" (RRT) has to be relied on to collect data for estimating the number of first generation "children born out of registered marriage". For this category, the characteristics of first generation children and the number and characteristics of second generation children are thus not directly available and one method is to estimate such based on information pertaining to "children born within registered marriage";
- thus, while the figure of 505 000 "first generation Mainland children born out of registered marriage" shown in the table attached is compiled based on data obtained through the RRT, the figure 581 000, representing the "second generation children born out of registered marriage" is derived based on the ratio between second generation and first generation children for the "children born within registered marriage" category. That is, 581 000 = 505 000 x 329 000/286 000;
- the survey does not cover the deceased and the emigrated Hong Kong Permanent Residents who may have children still residing in the Mainland. Thus the number of children of such persons, which may be considerable, is not reflected in the results;
- the Direct Questioning Method (DQM) was also used in asking questions on "children born out of registered marriage". The estimate of the number of children born out of registered marriage based on data collected from the DQM is just under 30 000. It was observed by interviewers that in administering the DQM many respondents felt embarrassed and uneasy or held a perfunctory attitude. Thus the data obtained from the DQM are considered to be subject to severe underreporting and unreliable.
Census and Statistics Department
25 June 1999
Persons Newly Eligible for Right of Abode
Based on CFA Ruling
||First Generation(1)||Second Generation(1)(eligible when |
eligible persons in the first generation fulfil the
7 years' residence requirement)
|Children born within registered marriage
|Children born out of registered marriage
|1 086 000|
[1 165 000]
|1 603 000|
[1 675 000]
[*In square brackets are the interim figures released previously]
(1) The first generation refers to Mainland children of Hong Kong residents. The second generation refers to the children of those Mainland Children, i.e. the grandchildren of Hong Kong residents.
(2) The above table does not include 98 000 persons who have the right of abode unaffected by the ruling by the Court of Final Appeal. They are among the first generation. There are thus a total of 286 000 children (i.e. 188 000 + 98 000) born within registered marriage, and altogether there are 791 000 persons (i.e. 286 000 + 505 000) in the first generation.
(3) Of these 329 000 persons, some are children of the 188 000 persons presented in the table, while the rest are children of the 98 000 persons mentioned in Note (2). That is, the 329 000 persons are the children of all the 286 000 first generation children born within registered marriage.