A modest proposal…

…to ward off the Monstrous Mainland Mother Menace

Problem: Mainland mothers are making ever more determined efforts to give birth in Hong Kong to qualify their kids for an eventual ID card and residence rights. Hospitals now have quotas to limit Mainlanders’ deliveries, and pregnant women from over the border without a booking may be intercepted by immigration officials and turned back. To get round this, some mothers-to-be enter Hong Kong before the bump gets too obvious, hang out in an illegal apartment-hostel for a while, then turn up at the public hospital emergency room after contractions begin. This endangers them and their kids, and – more to the point for angry Hongkongers – increases pressure on medical services and taxpayers’ costs, especially when the rascals run off without paying the bill.

Non-solutions: Hong Kong’s Basic Law guarantees residency to all born in the city. Changing this would be difficult politically and practically. (Amending the BL – a Chinese law – would legitimize Western-style rule of law and lose the Communist Party face. Chinese-style ‘interpreting’, under which we would be invited to believe drafters really meant to exclude Mainland babies all along, invites ridicule. Besides, the accumulation of Mainland residents in Hong Kong seems to be a policy of Beijing’s.  There would also be problems with discriminating against fellow Chinese vis-à-vis overseas nationals living here.)

Refusal to hand over the birth certificate without payment of fees – and perhaps of some sort of deterrent fine – is, I am reliably informed by a lawmaker who suggested it, not possible for some constitutional or legal reason that escapes me. Lame politicians like Chief Executive hopeful Henry Tang offer silly ideas like barring the mothers from Hong Kong for two years, as if that would make any difference.

Click to hear ‘Death of an Elf’ by the Reverend Glen Armstrong!

A real solution: I hereby solve the problem neatly and vividly in three simple steps.

1  All un-booked, potentially bill-skipping Mainland babies shall henceforth be impounded (what’s the phrase – taken into care?) by the child welfare and social services people straight after the nurse severs the umbilical cord. The grounds for this are that any woman willing to risk her and her child’s well-being by staggering in after her waters break is unfit to be a parent.

2  The newborn children will be offered up for adoption (maybe we could charge the new parents a fee to cover the costs of the delivery and the repatriation of the unfit mother). Local families would get priority, but most of the kids would no doubt go to those slightly creepy but no-doubt well-intentioned Americans who hanker after a Chinese baby to dress in cheongsams and teach Mandarin.

3  As word of the new policy spreads extremely quickly, watch the illicit mothers vanish overnight, and the pressure on our hospitals noticeably lessen.

Tomorrow I will solve the problem of illegal parking in Central through selective – and in practice relatively rare – public garroting.

Comments will be cleared eventually

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14 Responses to A modest proposal…

  1. nulle says:

    4) just don’t admit pregnant mainland mothers into hong kong hospitals and let them be on the streets.

    5) Bar mothers from entering HK for 50 years instead of 2. Or make the mothers permanently inegilble for any type of welfare or subsidized housing.

  2. Real Tax Payer says:

    Drastic situations call for draconian measures

    But I advise to do something about the illegal parking first ….. if we can’t solve that silly problem we certainly can’t stop the babies spilling out

    BTW : did you read the delicious news today that even the air in donald’s folly ( U-Turn House*) is also poisoned?

    * come to think of it – it does actually look like a giant U- Tube stuck into the ground

  3. Joe Blow says:

    Referring to Final Solution No. 1: when the proud parents find out it is a girl, they will be relieved that someone is taking it off their hands. And then they can try again.

    In regard to non-payment of hospital bills, I suggest the ‘Chinese hospital bill’ method. I once had the misfortune of accidentally cutting my hand badly while in China. So I went to the emergency room of a local hospital. When the young doctors finally had time to see me, they wrote out a bill, which had to be paid first at the cashier’s desk in the lobby, and then I had to return and they would stitch me up. Which they did, nicely, while making jokes about me playing with knives.

  4. Sir Crispin says:

    You forgot a step: Said mothers will be contracted, at below market pay, for a 2 year period of indentured servitude to local families having a record of abysmal and abusive treatment of foreign domestic helpers and lost their privileges to hire any more. At the end of their 2 year service, they shall be presented with a bill for the medical services incurred, and promptly dropped off at Lo Wu.

  5. Old Timer says:

    Nice idea, but of the govt can’t even withhold the birth certificate, for legal reasons, confiscation of the child seems unlikely.

  6. Probably says:

    Totally agree with your suggestions Hemmers although I do recall you mentioning this solution previously and am surprised our enlightened and bold leadership didn’t pick up on it at the first opportunity.

    I am credibly informed by both my mainland and HK Chinese associates that stopping the issue of Permanent Residency ID cards would fix the problem overnight. So if there is a will there is a way. (Unfortunately I do not truly believe there is a will to do so under our current leadership).

    However have they considered the other side of this coin? What if hordes of pregnant Filipino maids starting having their babies here? Would that make them consider a rethink or would it invoke another racist response?

  7. Walter De Havilland says:

    Hemmers … I’m surprised that today you did not focus of the new air quality standards rubber stamped in EXCO yesterday. No sooner was the ink dry then the Airport Authority was announcing it’s complete support and agreement to adhere to the new standards. That set my alarm bell ringing, even before I’d studied the detail. And yes, having now read the fine print the ‘new standards’ keep the status quo and allow polluters to continue to harm the health of our children. Meanwhile, a concerted PR campaign is underway to sell us more pollution.

    Time to leave Hong Kong me thinks.

  8. Reductio says:

    I don’t think I’m irony challenged or lacking a sense of humour but a picture of some poor soul being publicly executed is in very poor taste Hemmers.

  9. Che says:

    IT’S QUITE EASY. Deny SAR citizenship to children of non-residents. The problem would be solved overnight.

  10. Big Al says:

    The “non-solution” is the way to go. Re-interpret the basic law to guarantee residency to all born in the city with at least one parent who is a permanent resident. This is no different to citizenship requirements for many other countries.

    And while we’re on the subject of Mainland hoards clamouring to come to Hong Kong for important “family reunions”, if it is so important for these families to reunite, why dont’ they do so on the mainland?

  11. sen says:

    What’s with this ” Comments will be cleared eventually…” appendage to your last three posting. Do you really have minions ferreting away at each comment ?

    This comment was sent at 1.50pm

  12. darovia says:

    @Probably makes a good point: there will be quite a number of Filipina, Indonesian, etc. maids who have given birth here, what is the status of their HK born kids?

  13. The Meister says:


    In line with the nationality laws of many other countries, under current HK law, children where neither parents have HK residency and neither of them are Chinese nationals are not granted permanent residency. Therefore, there’re no hordes of Filipinos (or women of other nationalities) giving birth here. The problem is that the Basic Law gives preferential treatment to Chinese nationals and guarantees permanent residency to any locally born Chinese children regardless of the residency status of the parents.

  14. KY says:

    install immigration counters at all hospitals, then all babies are born outside HK borders

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