December 19, 2006
A common journalistic ruse is to quote "sources close to the government" about some controversial matter. This way you get the quote, you get the story and you get it sounding high level without having to name names. For example in today's Standard Carrie Chan parrots such a source on the topic of mainland women giving birth in the Big Lychee:
Taxpayers would have to fork out a hefty HK$5 million for each child born in Hong Kong to mainland women, according to a source close to the government.There's no detailing how this "source" reached the "hefty $5 million" figure, other than the traditional "rabbit out of hat" method. The article goes on to describe how all these mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong pose a danger to the city's way of life, even though senior politicians including The Don see these births as a potential demographic benefit. And of course this "hefty $5 million" is just a measure of costs, without any consideration of benefits such as providing future workers to support the growing legions of aging Hong Kongers.
The government is in quite a muddle about these pregnant mainlanders. Funnily enough, there are a lot of them desperate to give birth here even though they largely can't afford it. There are a couple of reasons why: firstly even if they can't pay the hospital bills they know they'll get high quality medical care, and secondly under Hong Kong's Basic Law, Article 24 says the permanent residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be Chinese citizens born in Hong Kong before or after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Already there's mutterings of "re-interpretation" of the Basic Law to deal with this issue...although in this case it's so black-and-white that it is hard to see how anyone could squirm out of it. Indeed Article 22 of the Basic Law clearly puts the onus on Beijing to sort out this problem: For entry into the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, people from other parts of China must apply for approval. Among them, the number of persons who enter the Region for the purpose of settlement shall be determined by the competent authorities of the Central People's Government after consulting the government of the Region. However it doesn't seem as if Beijing is too interested.
Instead the latest solution is more pragmatic, if not draconian:
Executive Council member Jasper Tsang Yok-sing proposed Monday that incentives for pregnant mainlanders to deliver babies in Hong Kong should be thwarted by both immigration and administrative measures.Or maybe these government "sources" could be more creative, creating a scheme for pregnant mainland women to come to Hong Kong under some kind of bond scheme which gives them a path to both repaying their hospital bills and remaining in the SAR, with all the benefits that brings to both these women and the SAR. Unfortunately "creative" and "government" are not terms that go together often.
I will be out of blog range for the next few weeks, so hopefully some of my fellow contributors can take up the slack. Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a happy 2007.posted by Simon on 12.19.06 at 09:30 AM in the Hong Kong category.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Send a manual trackback ping to this post.
Clearly a lie told to encourage the citizenry to back any proposal vetted by the government to rid our streets of this filthy street urchin dust bunnies from China. You know, they always lie, because they can hide behind the "courteousness" of the Hong Kong Journo!
five million my ass!posted by: greg on 12.19.06 at 10:44 AM [permalink]
http://ask.jongo.com/ You have any questions about China, you can ask on this site. And you'll get your answer in a short time. By the way it's free.posted by: March on 12.19.06 at 04:27 PM [permalink]
I got a question. Why are you soliciting your business online? Especially at this site. Have you not read the disclaimer? You just got fined, buddy!
"IP addresses recorded. Any commercial endevours placed here or sent via any email addresses on this site will be charged at US$250 per time, payable within 30 days. Posting is acceptance of these terms. Note that comments are not moderated and are the sole responsibility of each commenter."posted by: greg on 12.19.06 at 04:38 PM [permalink]
Thanks for the reminder, Greg. The invoice is being emailed now.posted by: Simon on 12.19.06 at 06:12 PM [permalink]
Rob and Andy got exactly what they deserved. Andy was a sociopath - when he wasn't lying, he was stealing. Rob was no better. Whatever animals raised these swine must be sterilized ASAP! I only wish I could have been present to hear Andy squeal.posted by: friedtoad on 12.20.06 at 06:19 PM [permalink]
I think that if a mainland woman is wiley and cunning enough to get over here pregnant, slip into hospital to drop the sprog and get away with HKID for the kid and not pay, as long as she passes those genes on we should have a ton of business sharks for the future. 5 million seems cheap.posted by: HKMGB on 01.03.07 at 04:09 PM [permalink]
I'm a bit skeptical of the media when they do that bit with the sources. It's a shame so many take what they read as stock truth - sure could use more accountability and responsibility in that field.posted by: Chinapro on 01.04.07 at 09:31 AM [permalink]
I still have a lot to catch up with as far as Hong Kongs' politics are concerned.
So, my question; are these benefits limited to the children of mainland only?posted by: Endurer on 01.10.07 at 07:15 AM [permalink]