Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Hong Kong’s first pregnant lawmaker Eunice Yung asks to vote by proxy during maternity leave

Hong Kong’s first pregnant lawmaker Eunice Yung has asked to vote remotely or by proxy after she gives birth next year.

The New People’s Party lawmaker confirmed that she was four months pregnant in a Now TV interview broadcast on Wednesday. Last month, she married Derek Yuen, her party’s policy research director.

Yung will be the first lawmaker in the legislature’s history to give birth during her term. Yung said in the interview that she will not resign from the legislature to become a full-time mother.

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Eunice Yung at her office. File photo: HKFP/Catherine Lai.

Yung said she is expected to give birth next February, around the Lunar New Year holidays. She said she has no plans to scale back her participation in the legislature’s committee meetings, but admitted that her pregnancy has affected district level work.

She said she may have to miss some votes and hoped for a new mechanism: “We can use our phones and computers to watch every single meeting of the legislature. It’s live. In terms of voting, can there be a system where I authorise Mrs [Regina] Ip to vote for me? I believe there can be some special methods to handle it.”

Asked about her premarital pregnancy, Yung said: “I think it’s a personal decision – it’s accepted nowadays. When to get pregnant, when to get married – I think it is a personal choice. Especially as professional women, I think we have our autonomy.”

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Eunice Yung and Derek Yuen in their wedding photos. Photo: Handout.

Yung said she did not intend to bring her newborn to legislative meetings, but will consider bringing the baby to the office.

But she expressed concerns about privacy and affecting her colleagues while breastfeeding. “My office has windows on three sides, and it is a semi-open place. I can do it, it’s not entirely impossible, I just have to cover it better. I hope there are no drones [outside the window].”

There is only one nursing room inside the Legislative Council building for all staff members. Yung said it only provides basic facilities, and she will schedule a meeting with the LegCo Secretariat to ask for more nursing rooms.

Hong Kong's first pregnant lawmaker Eunice Yung asks to vote by proxy during maternity leave