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Hong Kong's next leader to ban mainland babies

18 april 2012, 18:15
0
The Hong Kong Chief Executive-elect Leung Chun-ying (L). ©AFP
The Hong Kong Chief Executive-elect Leung Chun-ying (L). ©AFP
Hong Kong's next leader said Tuesday he plans to ban pregnant mainlanders from giving birth in the city and deny their children residency rights, in a bid to ease pressure on local hospitals, AFP reports.

The southern Chinese city has been struggling to cope with tens of thousands of mainland Chinese women who arrive yearly to give birth, thereby gaining residency rights for their children and dodging China's one-child policy.

Mainlanders accounted for nearly half of Hong Kong's 88,000 births in 2010, prompting a outcry over shortages of places in maternity wards and the soaring cost of childbirth in the former British colony of seven million people.

Incoming chief executive Leung Chun-ying said he would ban pregnant mainlanders whose husbands were not from Hong Kong, dubbed "double negatives", from giving birth in local hospitals next year.

"I hope the 'double negative' pregnant mainland Chinese women understand this message," Leung told public broadcaster RTHK less than a month after he was chosen to succeed outgoing Chief Executive Donald Tsang.

"If they have registered and prepared to give birth here next year, it is very likely that their child will not be entitled to the residency rights."

Leung, a wealthy former property consultant, will assume responsibility for running the semi-autonomous city on July 1.

Responding to public pressure, the government set a quota of 31,000 mainland mothers in private hospitals this year and 3,400 at state hospitals.

It has also clamped down on agents who arrange birthing trips for mainland mothers to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 under a system which guarantees rights and freedoms not enjoyed in the mainland.

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