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Hay River man weds in China

Red tape turns into confetti

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services

Hay River (Apr 07/03) - Despite bureaucratic hurdles, a Hay River man has married a woman in China.

Steve Hurcombe and Xiong Xueqin wed on March 15 in the industrial city of Nanchang.

"Everyone was really happy to finally get it all sorted out," Hurcombe said by e-mail from China. Now the process can begin for Xiong to immigrate to Canada.

"We have the immigration paperwork here and I'll be submitting it all as soon as I get back to Canada," said Hurcombe. "The process is slow and painful, and will probably be held up somewhere along the line by the slowness of the Canadian embassy in Beijing, who have to do the final interview. So it won't happen overnight."

Most immigration applications take a minimum of nine months to a year, he said, adding he's also heard of "nightmare scenarios" of applications taking years.

His new wife will also apply for a visitor's visa at the end of April. Previous attempts to obtain a visitor's visa were unsuccessful. Xiong wanted to visit Canada before she and Hurcombe were married so she could see where they would be living.

The Canadian embassy in Beijing turned down two visa applications, apparently because of concern she might not return to China.

At the time, Hurcombe rejected any worry Xiong would illegally stay in Canada, noting she works for an international company operating in China.

Recently, Chinese officials refused to accept a marriage licence because of the way Hurcombe lawyer's signature was notarized. That problem was worked out.

Hurcombe, 33, and Xiong, 27, are both accountants and have known each other for about a year, since they began chatting on the Internet.