Mainland mothers influx not on Beijing agenda for Hong Kong justice chief

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2012, 1:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

The justice secretary, who left for Beijing on Wednesday morning, said his official trip agenda did not include passing laws on subversion or mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong.

“We have no plans to discuss the mainland pregnant women or Article 23 [anti-subversion] legislation during the visit,” said Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, speaking at Hong Kong International Airport before his departure.

His visit was would be a courtesy call to legal and judicial officials in the capital, he said.

On the long-standing issue of mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong, he said the government’s stance was to resolve it within the city’s own legal framework.

Hong Kong hospitals have seen an influx of mainland mothers-to-be because their babies born here are entitled to residency in Hong Kong, which will give them the opportunity for better education, welfare and other public services than on the mainland.

There have been suggestions that Hong Kong should ask the central government to interpret the Basic Law to stop granting residency rights to these babies, but critics fear such a move would undermine the city’s judicial independence.

Yuen also said the time was not right to start work on enacting the national security law, because the government’s top priority was livelihood.

“There are many livelihood issues the administration has to deal with now, before it handles other matters,” he said.

The national security law has been a controversial subject. In 2003, a half-million people protested against government plans to introduce the law. As a result the proposal was shelved and the security minister resigned.

During his three-day stay in Beijing, Yuen will meet officials of the Supreme People’s Court, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office and other government commissions, and a lawyer’s association.