asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what further progress has been made in Hong Kong in respect of an adjustment of the cost of living index and the development of social services; and whether difficulties in respect of the repatriation of Chinese students from this country have now been removed.
As the reply is rather long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
How can the reply of the Minister apply to the last part of my Question? Can my right hon. Friend reply to that part?
Certainly. The answer to that is, yes.
Why could not my right hon. Friend say that in the first place?
Following is the reply:
The Hong Kong retail price index is considered to be quite satisfactory and was compiled on a new basis from September, 1948, as a result of a full budget inquiry carried out in June, 1948, which covered expenditure on food, rent, clothing, fuel and light and other miscellaneous items. An inquiry in July. 1949. indicated that there was no need for further revision. There is in Hong Kong a strong tradition of voluntary social work which is encouraged and assisted where possible by the Government. The field in which Government activity is most widespread is education, and in this field the Colony has a high standard.
Health services, too, are good. I understand from the Governor that considerable progress has been made in the last year in such a wide variety of matters as child welfare (for normal, abnormal and orphan children), old persons' welfare, delinquency, community development, training of social workers, case work, youth services, housing, recreation, moral rehabilitation, etc., in all of which the Government plays a considerable part.
The answer to the second part of the Question is in the affirmative. Chinese students wishing to return to China via Hong Kong have, since June, been granted transit visas without difficulties provided that some responsible organisation in Hong Kong will guarantee: