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Laboring for US citizenship

[ 2010-11-29 13:47]     字号 [] [] []  
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The business of helping pregnant Chinese women give birth in the United States has attracted an increasing number of people to the market. However, one insider predicts it will come to an end in five years.

The enterprise, which began 20 years ago in Taiwan, has become popular on the Chinese mainland.

For Jia Zijun, a Chinese American who returned to the mainland from the US three years ago to start the business, the enthusiasm of Chinese people for having a baby in the US so it could have American citizenship was "crazy."

"We received more than 100 calls from people asking about giving birth in the US in one day in the third quarter of this year," said Jia, who is now the representative of a consultancy for helping expectant Chinese mothers travel to California to give birth.

"Unfortunately, in most cases only about three clients in 100 are qualified to realize their dream through our help," said Jia. "Others cannot because of difficulties in getting a visa, financial problems, or lack of knowledge about US society.

"Sometimes, they realize that they are not qualified or it is not suitable to have a baby with US citizenship after we explain all the details of the process."

Technically, these kinds of agencies can help any woman who is qualified to travel to the US to give birth there because all they need to do is to help them find a suitable hotel and a nearby hospital. However, the women need to get a visa by themselves, which is the most difficult step.

Even though it is not against the law, it is usually not easy for obviously pregnant women to get a US visa. As a result, most pregnant women apply when they are not visibly pregnant.

Jia's agency has helped more than 100 Chinese women from the Chinese mainland to give birth in the US since it was established in 2007 in California. She is in charge of the Beijing office of her company, which goes under the name the US Yuezi Center. Yuezi in the Chinese language refers to the first month after a woman gives birth when, in Chinese culture, she receives special care over her diet, sleep and health.

The company has eight babycare centers in US cities including New York and Los Angeles, where expectant mothers can kill time by shopping in malls nearby.

The company provides the expectant mothers with shopping trips three times a week and arranges tourist outings if the clients ask for them.

The biggest babycare center, at 400 square meters, run by Jia's company is near Long Island in New York. The mothers are served with traditional Chinese dishes such as stir-fried liver, pearl barley soup and boiled fish - foods deemed to be especially good for pregnant women.

Back in China, the representatives are mainly responsible for attracting clients and signing contracts with them for their trip.

The average fee for the whole service including accommodation and hospital charges in the US is between 100,000 yuan ($15,026) and 150,000 yuan. Clients need to pay extra for flights and the cost of the visa.

The trend of giving birth in the US began in Shanghai and has now spread to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and other big cities.

Jia Zijun said competition in Beijing is less fierce than in Shanghai and the capital is the fastest growing market, so she chose it as the location for her company's Chinese representative office.

However, Jia said the industry, if it can be called an industry, is in chaos, especially in Shanghai, because too many inexperienced and unqualified people want to get a slice of the pie.

Many company owners are simply former clients who came back after giving birth in the US. Apart from the experience of giving birth in the US, they don't know anything, Jia said.

They have no idea how to choose the hospitals, deal with all kinds of application forms in English, or understand many legal issues in the US because when they gave birth there, companies like us did all of these things for them, she added.

Moreover, ill feeling is caused because some Chinese mothers try to skip the medical fee and there are US domestic movements regarding immigration that collaborate to make the future of the business difficult to predict.


1. Why do Chinese women want to give birth in the United States?

2. How many people qualify?

3. What are the costs?


1. They want to give their babies US citizenship.

2. In most cases only about three clients in 100 are qualified.

3. The average fee for the whole service including accommodation and hospital charges in the US is between 100,000 yuan ($15,026) and 150,000 yuan. Clients need to pay extra for flights and the cost of the visa.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Laboring for US citizenship

About the broadcaster:

Laboring for US citizenship

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.