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Tuesday 22.08.2017 | Name days: Rudīte, Everts

Chinese «birth tourism» to be limited worldwide

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The Canadian government is planning to revise the law to prevent Chinese women going to this northern country to give birth so their children automatically gain Canadian citizenship, Xinkuaibao newspaper reported.

Possible changes include no automatic citizenship with birth for Chinese children, besides a pregnancy test will be obligatory for Chinese women to obtain visas.

Canada is not the only country in the world having problems with growing Chinese birth rate. A similar situation is in the United States of America and in Hong Kong, also the Chinese one-child policy refers also to children born in Hong Kong.

According to the latest Hong Kong statistics, the number of pregnant Chinese «birth-tourists» traveling to Hong Kong to have their children has increased by 108% in the past 12 months. In 2010, China Daily with reference to Hong Kong population census reported that 41 000 children were born in Hong Kong such way which is about 47% of the total number of children born in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong administration announced last month it is to limit the number of the so-called birth tourists to 3400 births per year. However, it is not actually possible, because most women «go on a trip» in last days of their pregnancy and, in the case of «unexpected» birth, they are, of course, accepted in Hong Kong hospitals.

The reason for Chinese women going to Hong Kong to have their children is, probably, a better healthcare.

Late last year the Chinese «birth tourism» to USA became a national topic of discussion when a famous Chinese actor had accompanied his pregnant wife to Los Angeles, where she is to give birth to the couple’s second child, Bloomberg reports. Simply speaking, the reason is self-evident: Children born in USA are entitled to USA passports, free American education and other rights of USA citizenship that are not readily available to children born in China. However, in most cases the reason is the strict Chinese birth policy prohibiting Chinese couples to have more than one child already for many decades.

In 2002, the Family Planning Law was finally passed in China officially providing that only families in rural areas can have two children in cases when first child is a girl. However, such a policy has been implemented for at least 20 years. If a family wants a second child, it has to apply for permission in competent authorities. If there is no permission, Chinese authorities are inexorable – women pregnant with a second child are forced to do abortion; if they defy, there is other kind of violence and, in the best case, the family is fined with enormous sums, according to entries in the social network Sina Weibo.

Zhao Bingli, vice minister of the State Family Planning Commission, in the interview to points out that «after 30 years of efforts, exponential population growth has been effectively controlled, and some 300 million births have been prevented.»

China’s birth policy is being widely criticized, noting that such an attitude may destroy the country’s future.

Canada and USA having the biggest number of Chinese «birth tourists», suffer from an apparent population growth, because, although Chinese children are officially registered in the country where they are born, families almost always return to China. But Chinese statistics do not count these children at least until next population census, thus resulting in distorted statistics. Besides, American and Canadian authorities are not satisfied with the fact that children who are their citizens but practically grow up in another country, enjoy the same rights and privileges as American and Canadian children.

While Chinese «birth tourism» is becoming a more and more crucial problem in USA, Canada, Hong Kong and other developed countries, Chinese official media and the government keep silent, sharing an opinion that Chinese birth policy is in general very successful and it is being unfoundedly criticized.


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