HC Deb 04 July 1938 vol 338 cc34-5
57. Mr. Lunn

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make any statement on the Hong Kong Government's recent decree requiring every person who has the custody of any adopted girl to register her with the Secretary for Chinese Affairs?

Mr. M. MacDonald

The Legislature of Hong Kong has passed a new Women and Girls' Protection Ordinance which provides that the Secretary for Chinese Affairs may assume the guardianship of girls who have been transferred by their parents permanently, or for any consideration except marriage. He is empowered to make such orders as he thinks desirable in the interests of these wards for their disposal or supervision. Registration is made compulsory in the case of girls under 21 who have been adopted into the custody of any person other than their own parents, and there is provision for inspection in the case of any of his wards or other girl whom he has reason to believe is in moral danger. The inspectorate staff is being increased for this purpose.

Mr. Lunn

Are we to take it that mu-tsai, or child slavery, in Hong Kong will still continue in spite of the decree which has now been issued?

Mr. MacDonald

Mu-tsai is gradually, by the process which is well understood in this House, being brought to an end in the Colonies.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

Will my right hon. Friend see that the Hong Kong Government fully implement this decree which they have not done for some time?

Mr. MacDonald

Certainly, that is so. The new ordinance tightens up the administration, and it is the intention of the Government to work it properly.