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January 8, 2011 permalink
Gao Zhi Xin, eight years old, fled Chinese persecution to come to Canada with his mother. His mother died and the orphan boy cannot return to China because he is a refugee. He has two other relatives in Canada, but they are both being deported. Children's aid will pick up the boy and turn him into a crown ward.
Orphaned Chinese brothers face separation
Gao Zhi Xiang doesn’t know how to break the news to his 8-year-old brother, Zhi Xin, when the day comes for his deportation.
The 19-year-old, who arrived in Toronto last year on a visitor’s visa from China to see their dying mother, is faced with the difficult decision of leaving his orphaned brother, a permanent resident in Canada, to the care of Children’s Aid.
Their deceased mother, Lin Mei Zhang, had been granted asylum in Canada from religious persecution but died of colon cancer while her application for permanent residence was still in process.
“We only have an uncle in Toronto, but he is illegal here and is facing deportation as well,” said an anxious Gao, speaking in Mandarin. He is scheduled to meet with border enforcement officials Tuesday to arrange for his removal. “We don’t have other family or relative here. We only have each other.”
In fact, Gao and his mother would have obtained permanent resident status back in March 2009, if an immigration officer had not put their application on hold because the gaunt, dying woman who appeared for an in-person interview did not look like her photo in the application, taken when she was healthier.
Zhang, a native of China’s Fujian province, died at age 41 on Oct. 4, 2009, a day after Gao arrived on a one-month visitor’s visa to see her on her deathbed. She was already too sick to pursue her appeal with immigration.
Gao and his soon-to-be-deported uncle have since become the sole caregivers of Zhi Xin, a Grade 3 student at Toronto’s Charles G. Fraser Public School.
Gao’s visa expired at the end of 2009 and he has stayed in Canada illegally since then. Although he has had an application in process since May to stay on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, Gao was notified in December that he would be removed from the country.
Avvy Go, Gao’s lawyer, said the mother and younger son came to Canada in early 2007 and had their separate asylum claims accepted the following year. Zhi Xin got his permanent resident status in August.
“As a protected refugee, Zhi Xin cannot return to China with his elder brother,” said Go. “Given he is only 8 years old and has no other family here, his only choice is to become a Crown ward.”
Gao, who dropped out of school and worked in retail in China, said his mother was a member of an underground church.
“I know Mom would have liked to see all of us start a free life in Canada. It’s just too bad that she never got to see that,” said Gao, who complains that Zhi Xin doesn’t like his cooking because it’s nothing like their mother’s.
“We just hope that immigration officials will open their hearts and not separate me and my brother. We were abandoned by our father. We have lost our mother. It is just he and I now.”
Source: Toronto Star