Posted at 11:14 AM ET, 02/01/2012

China and Hong Kong battle over babies

Hong Kong and China are locked in a battle of words. A Hong Kong researcher raised China’s ire last month with a survey that showed local residents considered themselves “Hong Kongers” before “Chinese.” Last week, a Beijing professor angered Hong Kongers by calling them “dogs” and “thieves” during an Internet television chat show.

Now, the Hong Kong territory’s most popular newspaper Apply Daily — with a long habit of poking China in the eye — has run an ad picturing “Mainland Chinese” descending on Hong Kong like locusts. According to the China news blog Shanghaiist, the ad demands an immediate stop to the “unlimited infiltration of Mainland Chinese couples into Hong Kong.”

The ad takes aim specifically at the growing practice of Mainland Chinese women flocking to Hong Kong to have their babies because hospitals there are considered cleaner, safer and with more personalized care. Babies born in Hong Kong can receive a Hong Kong identity card, allowing them more freedom to travel abroad. And Hong Kong-born babies do not count under China’s restrictive “one child policy,” which is being increasingly challenged.

The ad, taken out by a business group and targeted at Hong Kongers, likely won’t stem the practice, particularly this year. For Hong Kong hospitals, Mainland moms are a source of revenue. Also, the Year of the Dragon is considered particularly auspicious, and many women in China, as in other Asian countries, have been trying to time their babies’ births so the children can be born in the Dragon year.

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By Keith Richburg  |  11:14 AM ET, 02/01/2012

Tags:  World, China, Hong Kong, One Child Policy

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