The Hong Kong government yesterday responded to reports of high levels of child poverty in the special administrative region, defending its financial plans and asking wider society to be involved in more alternatives to address the issue.
"In helping children in need, society should adopt a multidimensional and multidisciplinary approach," a government statement released on Monday said.
"The Administration has all along been committed to developing a comprehensive network of services, many of them highly subsidized, to take care of our children's developmental needs," Xinhua News Agency quoted a government spokesperson as saying.
Stories of poor children working to assist their families, along with photos of kids collecting used cartons, hit the front pages of almost all major newspapers yesterday, including Oriental News Daily and Apple Daily.
A study by Society for Community Organization had found that 2,000 children in Hong Kong have been forced to work an average of 6.7 hours a week, some for almost 24 hours, earning HK$156 (US$20) a month.
The results shocked many in Hong Kong, a city with per capita GDP of US$24,000.
The government said local disabled children are eligible for monthly assistance of HK$2,230-4,150 (US$290-539) and able-bodied children HK$1,275-1,920 (US$165-249).
(Xinhua News Agency November 22, 2005)