HK to stop maternity tourists

Hong Kong, September 4:

Hong Kong hospitals today started to turn away women arriving from mainland China to give birth in the city to stop a flood of “maternity tourists” costing the city millions of dollars.

The territory has imposed a three-month ban on childbirth bookings by mainland mothers, many of whom cross the border heavily pregnant to give birth in the wealthy city’s public hospitals. Giving birth in Hong Kong not only guarantees them world-class health care but in many cases secures citizenship of the city of 6.9 million for children who would otherwise be entitled to only a Chinese passport.

Hong Kong citizenship entitles them to free education, health care and other benefits throughout their life, the equivalent of a lottery win for children from poor families in southern China.

The easing of cross-border restrictions in 2003 led to a flood of women crossing the border to give birth.