Trend: Chinese "Bbirth tourism" on the rise

15:52, September 18, 2010      

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Many young white collars are choosing to have their babies outside of China, in the aim of giving the kids a better quality of life and better educational opportunities.

Zhang Li and his wife have been living in Beijing for the past five years. They own a home and cars but have not obtained Beijing Household status, which is integral to providing education for their children in the future.

"Hong Kong residency is much cheaper than Beijing residency," Zhang Li said. He has just accompanied his wife to HK to deliver their baby.

In China, children's resident status must follow that of their parents. Status is a key factor in the national educational system and affects tuition and eligibility.

Zhang finally choose to deliver the baby in HK. Although it is not encouraged for Chinese mainlanders to give birth on the island, the law does allow it.

In 2009, roughly 29,766 babies were born in HK to mainland families. This means that out of 10 babies born that year, four were from such families, the Southern Weekend reports.

Many parents have also chosen to give birth in the U.S. and Canada, although there are no official statistics showing how many have actually done this. There are a number of companies that help Chinese nationals give birth on U.S. soil. One of such companies says that it receives over 200 applicants from Chinese parents each year, and that there are hundreds of similar American agencies, the weekly newspaper reports.

Many of those who choose to participate in this increasing trend of giving birth outside of China are not eligible to emigrate for various reasons. The majority were born in the 80's and are highly educated and want their children to have different lives.

Effective from February 2007, the Hong Kong government has implemented a service fee of 39, 000 yuan (5,799 dollars) on "unqualified" patients who stay in public hospital delivery rooms. Until now, this has been the biggest obstacle for people like Zhang Li, but is relatively easy to overcome.

Some see providing their children with HK or overseas citizenship as the best gift they can give to their kids. Traveling with ease and better educational opportunities are among the reasons most often cited by parents who choose to do this.

In 2009, HK hospitals generated 150 million HKD (130 billion yuan, 19 billion dollars) from such "unqualified" patients.



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