Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Lawmaker Eunice Yung makes Hong Kong history with pregnancy while in office

No woman has ever found herself expecting during a term in the city’s legislature, but New People’s Party lawmaker is reportedly in the early stages

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 August, 2018, 7:32am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 August, 2018, 7:32am

A Hong Kong lawmaker is set to make history by becoming the first in the city to marry and possibly give birth while holding a seat in the legislature.

Eunice Yung Hoi-yan, 41, of the New People’s Party, will tie the knot in August with her fiancé Derek Yuen Mi-chang, the party’s policy research director.

The couple on Tuesday confirmed to the Post that they had submitted a notice of their intention to marry to Hong Kong’s marriage registry, and Yuen did not deny media reports claiming his partner was in the early stages of pregnancy.

“We would like to keep it simple,” Yuen said of the wedding. “We have no plans to make a big fuss.”

He added: “Of course we have plans to have a baby. That’s why we have to hurry and register the marriage this summer.”

The Legislative Council is currently on its summer recess, which will last until October.

Yuen, an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong, refused to elaborate any further on Yung’s pregnancy.

No woman has ever become pregnant during her time in Hong Kong’s legislature.

Women are under-represented in the chamber, with only 10 among 68 members – a number that has changed little over the years.

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Seven were married before joining Legco, including New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee.

“This shows that legislators can cope with both the work and their private life,” Ip said on Tuesday.

“I am so glad Eunice is finding a way to balance work and life.”

A barrister by trade, Yung is a relative newcomer to politics, and was largely unknown in political circles until rumours swirled in 2015 that she would run for office. She won her seat in New Territories East the following year with 36,183 votes.

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It was understood she still maintains an interest in contesting polls for a second term in Legco.

Lawmakers in Hong Kong are officially regarded as serving a public duty and not employed by the legislature, meaning they are not entitled to maternity leave.

However, they can take leave with full pay and allowances by notifying Legco’s secretariat office.

Late rural leader Lau Wong-fat went on leave for more than three months in 2015 and 2016, when he was too ill to attend Legco meetings.

Additional reporting by Alvin Lum