Deputies to focus on conflicts

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 February, 2012, 12:00am


Resolving conflicts between the mainland and Hong Kong is likely to be the focus of local deputies to the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

As the annual plenary session of the NPC begins next Saturday and that of the CPPCC two days later, deputies have been deliberating on proposals to submit to Beijing. Some of them will call for action over the growing number of mainland babies born in Hong Kong, and the need for cultural integration between Hongkongers and mainlanders after incidents revealing the rising anger.

Cheng Yiu-tong, a local deputy to the NPC - the supreme organ of state power - said he wanted to raise these concerns with Beijing.

He hopes to see administrative measures used to shut the floodgates on pregnant mainland women, and more education for mainlanders.

'Today, we can only deploy administrative measures to control the influx of mainland mothers, and in some sense the measures kind of encourage people to give birth here,' said Cheng, president of the Federation of Trade Unions.

He was referring to the pressure on obstetric services in private and public hospitals since a 3,400 cap was implemented this year, and Chief Secretary Stephen Lam Sui-lung's suggestion last year that Hong Kong children born to mainland mothers could replenish our ageing population should they settle in the city.

However, Hongkongers are more concerned about the pressure these babies would have on the medical and education systems.

In December, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen raised the issue for the first time with Premier Wen Jiabao . About 43,000 mainland women gave birth in Hong Kong last year.

The influx of mainland visitors - other than mothers - has also fuelled friction with Hongkongers.

Cheng said he wanted more education to improve the manners of mainland visitors and tolerance among Hong Kong people.

'Does the central government know that mainland tourists need more behavioural education? Can the Hong Kong administration launch a publicity campaign teaching visitors about our culture?'

Ip Kwok-him, an NPC delegate of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the party - with nine NPC delegates and 29 CPPCC deputies - would focus its proposals on economic development.

'But we also want to see the central and local governments stepping up the crackdown on middlemen agents for pregnant mainland women,' Ip said.

The Liberal Party will also raise the mainland-Hong Kong conflict, particularly on the proposed cross-border driving scheme allowing more mainland cars into Hong Kong.

Samuel Yung Wing-ki, a deputy to the CPPCC, the top advisory body, said he would submit proposals on strengthening the city's role as a financial centre.

'Hong Kong can further develop its bond market, such as the renminbi bond,' Yung said. 'To build the city as an international capital asset centre, we need more diverse financial products.'