Basic Law not the way to solve mainland baby issue, says top official

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 March, 2012, 12:00am

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Amending the Basic Law is an impractical way to try to stem the tide of mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong, according to Beijing's man concerned with the city's affairs.

Wang Guangya, director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, told a group of the city's deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing yesterday that it was unlikely the mini-constitution's provisions could be changed, even though the problem could not be solved under existing provisions.

Wang's comments echoed the message earlier this week from mainland legal experts and Qiao Xiaoyang, the former director of the Basic Law Committee.

According to CPPCC delegate Tam Yiu-chung, Wang acknowledged the issue had had an immense impact on the mainland as well as Hong Kong. 'He said the central government would have further talks with the Hong Kong government to step up administrative measures, although this will only alleviate - not solve - the problem,' Tam said. 'But he thinks amending the Basic Law will not work.

'He said the influx of mainland babies - 11 years after the Chong Fung-yuen case - had not only piled pressure on Hong Kong's medical and education systems, it had also affected the mainland's one-child policy and the household registration system.'

Tam, who is also chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, was referring to the landmark 2001 case in which the Court of Final Appeal ruled that mainland babies born in Hong Kong have the right of abode, regardless of their parents' immigration status.

Hospital Authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk, a CPPCC deputy, briefed Wang on the issue yesterday.

'According to Wang, the mainland authorities will try their best to co-operate with Hong Kong in the hope of suppressing the number of mainland [mothers giving birth in Hong Kong],' Wu said.

New People's Party vice-chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun proposed an agreement to cap the number of mainland mothers entering Hong Kong to deliver their children.

Meanwhile, Guangdong governor Zhu Xiaodan said yesterday the government had fulfilled its promise to help curb the influx of mainland mothers into Hong Kong, and that the most effective way to tackle the problem was by cracking down on the middlemen.

3,400

The quota of maternity beds for non-local women in Hong Kong public hospitals