Mainland Birthing Tourism Affecting Local Hong Kongers

Chinese Mainlanders will likely face additional, stricter limitations on giving birth in Hong Kong, according to the South China Morning Post.

The announcement was made amid growing concern that the influx of expectant Mainland mothers making the journey to Hong Kong to have their children was placing significant stress on Hong Kong’s healthcare system.

Dr. York Chow, secretary for Food and Health said the HK government was exploring restrictions on the use of obstetrics services at public hospitals. The number of births of Mainlanders from Hong Kong has skyrocketed from a few hundred in 2004-2005, to approximately 40,000.

Although Hong Kong officials want to curb the births, it is a difficult task to tackle, considering many private sector hospitals are making an excess amount of money from Mainland parents that are willing to pay lucrative amounts of money in order to have their children in Hong Kong.

This brings up the potential problem of whether or not local Hong Konger’s healthcare is being ignored to make room for wealthy mainlanders who want to make sure their children are born as HK citizens.

So, what is the exact reason so many more Mainlanders are venturing to HK to have their children when it’s obvious they spend much more in doing that than having their children in China? Are they trying to avoid the one-child policy or are they doing so to obtain what they deem as better healthcare? Another possibility that arises is whether the motivation behind giving birth in Hong Kong is to obtain what many Chinese deem as a “prestigious Hong Kong citizenship.”

This news is particularly fascinating and relevant in lieu of last week’s recent birthing tourism busts in the San Gabriel Valley, which the LA Times broke. Birthing tourism is obviously not a new concept, but it is interesting to think about what economic, cultural, or political motivations are spurring the sudden rise in such practices in Hong Kong and in the United States.

What do you think? What do you think is the reason Mainland parents are willing to fork over $40,000 HK and U.S. dollars to give birth to their children outside of their home country? Is it a worthwhile investment and who being

About Kristie

Kristie Hang holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, in Communication Studies and Asian Humanities and is currently finishing her Masters in the Broadcast Journalism program at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Journalism. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, she has lived in Hong Kong, traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia, and studied in Beijing at Tsinghua University as part of the Interuniversity Program for Advanced Chinese Studies. In addition to her current positions as a News Contributor at Annenberg Digital News and a Video Journalist with Annenberg Television News, her media experience includes internships with MTV Networks, CNN International, as well as with the Asia Pacific Institute, where she reported on Asian and Asian-American arts and entertainment. She also enjoys writing about food and travel at her blog, "I Eat Therefore I Am" (http://ate-ate-ate.blogspot.com). She is fluent in Cantonese, English, and Mandarin and whatever is left from four years of spanish.
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