Fourteen mainland families, who have children born in Hong Kong to two mainland parents, have taken Shenzhen’s Education Bureau to court after their children were barred from attending public Shenzhen schools. Their claim was lodged on Thursday at the Shenzhen Yantian People’s Court.

The bureau modified rules in 2012 so that those with only Hong Kong or Macau residence are only allowed to attend schools intended for Hong Kong children and private schools. Known as “double negative children,” they are not allowed to attend public schools.

Hong Kong-Shenzhen border. Photo: Wikicommons.

According to Wenweipo, a parent said “in Guangdong, cities other than Shenzhen accept these Hong Kong children. Residents of Shenzhen without hukou can apply to local schools, but those from Hong Kong or Macau cannot.” He also said that although both parents work in Shenzhen and pay taxes, their children were unable to benefit from local public education.

Long commute hours and cultural differences between Hong Kong and Shenzhen were also some of the issues raised by parents.

Shenzhen–Hong Kong cross-boundary students.

However, another parent said that even if the policy changes, their children may not return to study in the mainland immediately. They were suing to get what they believe is a reasonable right.

An estimated 30,000 children crossed the border from Shenzhen for school in 2015, according to research conducted by the Foreign Affairs Office of the Shenzhen government in Hong Kong and Macau and the China Development Institute. The number is expected to peak between 2016 and 2018, where there will be 65,000 to 85,000 children making the border run.

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.