Not yet in office, Hong Kong's next top leader is already tackling one of the city's most controversial issues--he wants mainland mothers to stay home.
In the strongest policy position he's assumed since he was chosen to lead the Chinese territory, Leung Chun-ying declared that starting next year, 'zero' mothers from the mainland would be permitted to give birth in private Hong Kong hospitals, unless they have a Hong Kong husband.
The issue of thousands of mothers crossing the border to give birth to their children--threatening to strain the local health-care system--has alarmed a public already irate over the millions of mainlanders visiting to purchase luxury goods, sight-see and pour money into real estate, whose presence is crowding the city and pushing property prices up.
Tensions flared between local residents and Beijing earlier this year when a group of Hong Kongers pooled their money to fund a set of newspaper ads that called mainlanders 'locusts,' after a videotaped spat sparked by the sight of a mainlander slurping noodles on one of Hong Kong's spotless subway cars (where it's forbidden to consume food) went viral. In the days following that incident, a professor from Beijing's prestigious universities went on to condemn Hong Kongers' attitudes toward mainlanders in less-than-politic terms, calling Hong Kongers 'bastards' and 'dogs.' More recently, fierce protests have flooded the streets as Hong Kongers have criticized Beijing's attempts to influence its political system.
Mr. Leung's public approval ratings hovered around 35% at the time that he was picked on March 25 by a narrow election committee of 1,200 members. His latest statements come in marked contrast to those of current incumbent Donald Tsang, whose government is allowing private hospitals to accommodate as many as 31,000 mainland mothers this year.
'[Mr. Leung] wants to show that he's a leader who's decisive, who's concerned and who can deliver,' said Joseph Cheng, political scientist at the City University of Hong Kong. 'And certainly this is a very controversial issue that has attracted a lot of attention.'
On the heated question of whether babies born to mainland mothers should be granted the right to abode in Hong Kong, Mr. Leung--who takes office in July--declared that he wanted to send mainland mothers a message. Starting in 2013, he said, 'I can't guarantee that children they birth in Hong Kong will have the right to permanent residency.' He added that he had been consulting with legal experts and academics on the matter.
In 2010, babies born to mainland mothers accounted for 40% of all births in Hong Kong. Most of these mothers--drawn both by better health care and the chance of securing the right to live in Hong Kong for their child--gave birth in private hospitals, where it can cost as much as HK$80,000, or US$10,300, to do so. (The number of non-local women permitted to give birth in the city's public hospitals was capped at 3,400 this year.)
To resolve the issue of 'visitors from the north' coming to give birth in Hong Kong, support from across the border will be key, Mr. Cheng told China Real Time. 'Understanding what the Chinese authorities want is important, as is getting cooperation from [neighboring province] Guangdong,' he says, noting that Mr. Leung's announcement comes on the heels of his visit last week to Beijing, where he received his formal appointment from Premier Wen Jiabao.
'He's a very sophisticated politician,' said Mr. Cheng. 'I do believe he's done his homework.'
香港城市大学(City University of Hong Kong)政治学教授郑宇硕说，梁振英希望显示自己是一位有决断力、关心民众、说到就能做到的领导人；而且毫无疑问，这是一个非常有争议的问题，吸引了极大的关注。
郑宇硕对《华尔街日报》的“中国实时报”(China Real Time)栏目说，为解决双非孕妇赴港产子的问题，获得内地政府的支持是关键。他说，理解内地政府想要什么很重要，同样的，获得毗邻香港的广东省的合作也很重要。他指出，梁振英发表声明是在他上周访问北京之后。他在北京接受了国务院总理温家宝的正式任命。
（本文版权归道琼斯公司所有，未经许可不得翻译或转载。）关键词：香港 医院 梁振英 大陆