Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and its birthrate had been among the highest.
GV ZOOM in junks on crowded waterfront.
SV Students on way to school
SV PAN from crowded market to blocks of flats.
SV PAN from flat to family planning visitor approaching
SV Balcony outside flat.
SV PAN INT from four children at table to family planning visitor entering and talking with the mother.
SV Children clamber into bunk beds.
LV PAN down and ZOOM in family planning visitor accompanies wife into "Family Planning Assoc of Hong Kong" building
CU Scientific contraception poster
CU INT woman pays for and receives birth control pills.
LV & CU EXT of the Jockey Club Health Centre (2 shots)
CU Family planning poster.
SV & CU Women with their children in health centre (3 shots)
SV & CU Woman with two children has planning leaflet explained to her (2 shots)
SV PAN group of men waiting outside male clinic.
SCU Doctor talks to man about sterilization (2 shots)
CU ZOOM out poster portraying a pregnant man.
CU Children going to school.
Initials CO.17.13 JB/MR/CO/18.07
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and its birthrate had been among the highest. But not any more. The British Crown Colony has tackled the problem of overpopulation with considerable success and its birthrate has dropped dramatically. The age-old Chinese saying, "more children, more happiness," no longer holds in Hong Kong.
Government statistics show that the birthrate last year was down to 18.94 per thousand. Ten years earlier, in 1960, it was 37.1 per thousand.
Much of the credit is due to the Hong Kong Family Planning Association. This is a voluntary organisation, supported by funds from the Government and private welfare groups in the Colony and abroad. It uses imaginative devices such as pop songs, fairy tales and posters showing pregnant man to get its message across to the four million people in the Colony many of whom are illiterate refugees from China.
On of the big obstacles to successful family planning in Hong Kong has been the traditional importance the Chinese attach to the male children. In old China only male heirs could continue the family farm or business. Baby girls were sometimes abandoned or drowned. This does not happen today, but the attitude remains. Another obstacle is the widespread belief among Chinese men that birth control is solely the responsibility of the woman. It was to combat this attitude that the Family Planning Association put out a poster showing a pregnant man with the caption "How would you feel if you were pregnant ?".
The Family Planning Association dispenses contraceptive devices including the Pill. It runs 50 clinics is the colony and last year drew more than 30,000 new patients compared with only 10,000 in 1960.
The next five years will be crucial. But the fact that more and more young couples go the birth control clinics and start their family planning early, gives the Association good reason for optimism.