Visitors to Hong Kong this Christmas will have seen the colony's answer to the Cabbage Patch doll -- the Rice Paddy baby.
HONG KONG DECEMBER 27, 1984 (REUTERS - GARY LING)
CU PULL BACK & LV Sign 'Immigration Department' in Doll Store window. 0.10
SV & CU Salesgirls arranging Rice Paddy dolls in variety of costumes. (2 SHOTS) 0.30
SVs Dolls with passports and sign 'I want to Emigrate'. (3 SHOTS) 0.40
CUs Man opens up Doll's passport and stamp on passport. (2 SHOTS) 0.59
SVs PAN Alternative doll costumes on clothes rack TO dolls on display beside music cassettes. (3 SHOTS) 1.19
CU Children with newly-purchased dolls. 1.33
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Background: Visitors to Hong Kong this Christmas will have seen the colony's answer to the Cabbage Patch doll -- the Rice Paddy baby. The moon-faced handmade dolls each come with a British passport. The document gives the doll's name, occupation as immigrant and the date the passport expires - 1997. Critics say the manufactures are deliberately playing on the insecurity of the colony's residents over the cession of Hong Kong to China in 1997 and there has been a storm of controversy. The dolls are the creation of United States entrepreneur John Damron who said he had the idea to make tham after failing to secure the "adoption" of two Cabbage Patch Kids for his nieces. Tourists who buy the dolls are invited to help Rice Paddy babies 'escape' from the colony and the "immigration fee" for each doll is 199.70 US dollars. One week after arriving home the new owner receives a letter asking whether anyone else in the neighbourhood would like to sponsor one of the doll's friends. Rice Paddy Babies have helped invigorate the colony's toy industry which this year will see exports reaching nearly 1.6 billion US dollars -- an increase of almost thirty-five per cent over 1983 sales.