by Steven Ertelt
August 13, 2007
Hong Kong, China (LifeNews.com) — Since Hong Kong became a part of China again in 1997, the former British province has become a refuge for women on the mainland who are escaping the Asian nation’s brutal one-child family planning policy that involves forced abortions and sterilizations.
The China policy, which prevents most people in the country from having more than one child, does not apply to Hong Kong.
Leaders of the former city-state frequently encourage residents there to have three children per family in order to sustain its population.
But for women seeking to flee the persecution they face in mainland China if they become pregnant with a second child, Hong Kong is a safe haven. According to a Los Angeles Times report, the number of children born there has increased from a few hundred annually in the 1990s to more than 20,000 in only the first 10 months of 2006.
Benny Mak, a Hong Kong real estate agent who is married to a woman from the mainland, talked with the newspaper about his situation.
When his wife got pregnant with their second child, the physician suggested an abortion.
"If we stay in China, they could arrest my wife while she is still pregnant, make her get an abortion and pay a big fine. It would all be legal," he said.
Several legal rulings are helping pregnant Chinese women, the Times reports.
In 2001, a court decision resulted in Hong Kong allowing children born there to mainland Chinese women to qualify for permanent residence. And another ruling 2003 during the SARS epidemic made it easier for Chinese residents to go to Hong Kong and get through customs.
Those decisions have opened the floodgates for women and local Hong Kong officials have put policies in place in February that any Chinese women in the third trimester of pregnancy who want to travel there must pay $5,000 for a bed in a Hong Kong hospital.
Pregnant women are getting around the fee by hiding their pregnancies and waiting until they are ready to give birth before going to the emergency room, where they are rarely turned away.
For women hoping to avoid the forced abortions and sterilizations on the mainland and the destruction of property and loss of jobs that comes with a quota violation, attempting a trip to Hong Kong is worth the risk.