Four pro-democracy incoming lawmakers have urged the government to take back the rights of approval for One-Way Permits.

The People’s Republic of China Permit for Proceeding to Hong Kong and Macao, otherwise known as the one-way permit, is a travel document that permits Chinese citizens to move permanently to Hong Kong and Macau. Currently, only China can approve the permits.

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Attendees of the public forum.

Although the four incoming lawmakers — independent Lau Siu-lai, Yau Wai-ching of Youngspiration, Jeremy Tam Man-ho of the Civic Party, and Dr. Cheng Chung-tai of Civic Passion — hold different political stances on the pro-democracy spectrum, they all agreed that the approval of permits was an issue on which they could collaborate in LegCo. The four were speaking at a public forum held by the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong on Monday.

Some were concerned that new immigrants would be deprived of the rights to reunite with their families if the Hong Kong government regained the approval rights to the permits. Cheng said it was precisely because the government did not have the right of approval that they were unable to plan welfare policies accordingly.

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Yau Wai-ching speaking at the forum. Photo: Cloud.

Yau proposed abolishing the one-way permit policy: “I am not closing the borders to Chinese citizens, but why are immigrants from China not part of the same approval system as immigrants from the rest of the world?”

She said that Chinese citizens could apply to move to Hong Kong through proper channels.

Lau said that it was important for new immigrants to assimilate into Hong Kong society. Through doing so they would develop a sense of belonging towards the city. Civil education could be used to promote the Hongkonger identity, she said.

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Lau Siu-lai. File photo: Cloud.

The four incoming lawmakers said that it was important that the issues were widely discussed by the public, so as to foster consensus and exert pressure on the government for change.

The theme of the forum was Hong Kong in 2047, Hong Kong independence, and Resistance in LegCo. Around 200 people attended.

Stanley is a Media and Communications graduate from Goldsmiths College in London. He takes particular interest in visual journalism, having produced photographic and video work on a number of social and political issues. He has also interned at the current affairs service of RTHK’s TV division.