“My mother’s will was to be buried at her birthplace. Without her proof of citizenship in China, we can’t get her a cemetery plot or send her back there,” her son, Gao Zhi Xiang, said in an interview in Mandarin.
“After all these years, we still can’t put her to rest. She just wanted to be home in her death.”
Lin had been granted asylum in Canada on grounds of religious persecution, but died of colon cancer in October 2009, while her application for permanent residence was still in process.
Since 2010, her family had contacted Citizenship and Immigration Canada numerous times to request for the return of the woman’s original identity documents, which had been in the department’s possession.
In August, with help from a legal clinic, the family wrote another letter to immigration officials because they needed the documents “to arrange for the burial of Ms Lin’s remains.”
Specifically, Gao said he needed his mother’s original Chinese citizenship card in her immigration file.
This month, Avvy Go, the family’s lawyer, finally heard back from the officials.
The department “has conducted a thorough investigation on the whereabouts of Ms Lin’s ID document, to no avail,” said a terse letter, offering no apology.
All it provided was a statutory declaration of a photocopy of Lin’s Chinese ID card, which was found in her refugee file.
“I am just curious what they’ve done with the woman’s ID? How did they lose it?” wonders Go.
A despondent Gao, 21, said he and his orphaned brother, Zhi Xin, 10, both permanent residents now, will try to take their mother’s ashes to China, hoping officials there will accept the statutory copy issued by Canadian immigration officials.
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