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Cross-border school rush stokes Hong Kong-China tensions

Published on Feb 6, 2014 2:58 PM
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Students, who live in Shenzhen, line up for a school bus after school in Hong Kong on Dec 19, 2013, before crossing the border back to mainland China. One recent winter dawn, more than 100 parents from the mainland started lining up outside a primary school in Hong Kong to try to clinch Grade One places for their children. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (Reuters) - One recent winter dawn, more than 100 parents from the mainland started lining up outside a primary school in Hong Kong to try to clinch Grade One places for their children.

They were among 700 parents competing for 550 school spots in an area near the border with the mainland that has become a magnet for people in Shenzhen and nearby cities who want their Hong Kong-born children educated in the Asian financial hub.

"It was totally unexpected. We had to start another queue," said the school's principal Siu May Cheuk. "Parents are just afraid that the school will be filled with mainland children."

The allure is a better, more liberal education and international opportunities in Hong Kong. Every day, around 20,000 students are shuttled across the border from the mainland, dressed in neat Hong Kong school uniforms and lugging their bags on trains and chartered buses.

 
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