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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Hong Kong’s Draw for Pregnant Women from China

Posted by Author on January 31, 2007

By Vaudine England, in Hong Kong, BBC News, Wednesday, 31 January 2007-

Mrs Huang chose to give birth to her second child, a girl, in Hong Kong, even though she comes from Guangdong province, across the Chinese border.

If she had given birth at home, she would have faced penalties of about $10,000 (£5,000) for breaking China’s One Child policy.

“It all depends, there’s no standard. If you have money then the penalty will be much heavier,” she said.

So the $2,500 she paid for three days and two nights in a Hong Kong hospital was a good deal.

Ward Manager Nancy Chan, at Hong Kong’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital maternity ward, said 35 new patients had arrived in the past 24 hours – a rate that is now normal.

It did not use to be like this. Ms Chan remembers when there were more nurses and fewer mothers, allowing for more personal care.

But in 2001, Hong Kong’s highest court ruled that a child born in Hong Kong to parents who came from China had the right to residency in Hong Kong.

At first glance, that seems an insignificant perk for babies who are already citizens of China.

But Hong Kong’s history as British colony and now special administrative region of China means it is much richer, and has a reliable welfare system. Gaining the right of abode in Hong Kong guarantees rights to virtually free healthcare, education and housing.

It also means a range of complexities.

Mrs Huang, for example, will be leaving hospital as soon as her paid-for package expires. But her baby girl is still under paediatric care so will stay in the hospital.

Mrs Huang is not a Hong Kong citizen but her new baby is, so the baby gets virtually free mothering at the hands of Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s nurses until it is time for Mrs Huang to come to take her away.

Mrs Huang is lucky because she has relatives in Hong Kong who help her with accommodation.

She can get a three-month visitor’s pass to Hong Kong quite easily so while she intends to bring up her baby in China, she can pop back to Hong Kong whenever she feels the need.

Border checks

But from 1 February, new rules mean women like Mrs Huang will find it more difficult to come to Hong Kong to give birth.

After an influx of about 20,000 non-local women to Hong Kong’s hospitals last year, the government has taken a series of measures to help stem the flow.

Mainland mothers who look heavily pregnant will have to show immigration officers a hospital booking confirmation alongside their visitor’s visa. If they do not have the booking, they will not be allowed in.

The government has also raised the charges for delivery in Hong Kong, and plans to beef up nursing numbers with fresh funding and training.

The key is to require women to have a medical history in Hong Kong before allowing them in to give birth.

The higher costs may deter some women. But Mrs Huang said the increased charges are still less than the penalties she would have faced for having a second child in China. ( more details from BBC News)

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