DAB chief to act on mainland mums

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 January, 2012, 12:00am


DAB chairman Tam Yiu-chung, a member of China's top political advisory body, will raise the issue of mainland women flocking to give birth in Hong Kong at the national congress in March.

Tam is the latest politician to express concern about the issue. Last week, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen raised the issue with Premier Wen Jiabao during his last official visit to Beijing.

Tam, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said a child whose parents were not Hong Kong permanent residents should not get right of abode in the city just by being born here.

He was speaking after the party's 20th anniversary celebration yesterday.

The number of mainland women coming to Hong Kong to give birth has been rising steadily in recent years, putting pressure on hospitals and the immigration system.

Dr Fung Hong, chief of the New Territories East hospital group, said a record 7,400 babies were born at Prince of Wales Hospital last year. The number of pregnant mainland women going to the emergency ward had steadily increased from about 50 a month.

'It is causing a strain on staff resources and big pressure on our colleagues,' Fung said.

Tam yesterday blamed the problem on the 'inaccurate understanding' of the Basic Law by Hong Kong's highest court. 'The Court of Final Appeal's understanding of the Basic Law was inaccurate,' he said, referring to the 2001 landmark ruling when Chong Fung-yuen, the son of a mainland couple born in 1997 in Hong Kong, was ruled to have the right of abode.

But as to whether the National People's Congress should reinterpret the Basic Law or the law should be amended, Tam said it should be decided by Beijing and the Hong Kong government.

Associate professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting, of the University of Hong Kong's law faculty, said an amendment would be a better as it was more transparent. 'Looking at past experience, interpretation did not involve public discussion,' he said.

He agreed that the problem of mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong to win right of abode for their children needed to be solved as soon as possible.