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China's police welcome limits on mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong
26/1/2007 15:38

The mainland police authority yesterday welcomed new rules to limit mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong and denied the central government had ever encouraged the practice.
"Hong Kong has taken measures to protect the region's limited medical resources. I think these measures will be helpful in ensuring the health and safety of pregnant women," said Li Changyou, deputy director of the Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration with the Ministry of Public Security.
On Jan. 16, authorities in Hong Kong announced the rules to limit the number of mainland women who are at least seven months pregnant from entering Hong Kong unless they are booked into a local hospital.
The regulations is expected to become effective on Feb. 1 and the number of women allowed to enter will be regulated according to the region's medical capacities.
"The current health care and medical resources on the mainland are good enough to meet pregnant women's needs," Li said in Beijing.
The border police would continue to carefully examine and deliberate on mainland residents' applications to enter Hong Kong according to the Basic Law of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the temporary regulation on crossings between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions, Li said.
But he did not mention whether the police or other mainland government departments would take any new measures to address the issue.
Many pregnant mainland women are reported to be traveling to Hong Kong to take advantage of the inexpensive but high-quality medical facilities, or try to obtain citizenship rights for their children.
The influx of pregnant mainland women has drawn fierce complaints from local expectant mothers, many of whom say they have arrived at hospital on their due dates only to be refused admission because of a shortage of beds, according to local media reports.