China Officials Provide Details of New Program to Monitor Gender Imbalance

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 12, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China Officials Provide Details of New Program to Monitor Gender Imbalance Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 12, 2006

Beijing, China ( — Chinese family planning officials have announced some of the details of a new program meant to monitor the severe gender imbalance that has developed as a result of its population control plan. The family planning policies, which allow the birth of just one child, have resulted in forced abortions and sterilizations.

Zhao Baige, the Vice Minister of the State Commission for Population and Family Planning, said the monitoring program would begin later this year.

He told Xinhua, China’s official state-run media outlet, that family planning officials would be sent across the country to take surveys. They will analyze the impact of a 2003 plan, called the "Care for Girls" program, to promote the birth of girl babies.

In China, especially in rural areas, cultural preference is for boys over girls to be able to work the family farm and run it someday. As a result, sex-selection abortions and infanticides have become commonplace.

China has prohibited the use of ultrasounds to determine the sex of a baby before birth. However, last month, the Chinese government decided it will not prohibit sex-selection abortions even though they have contributed to the stark gender imbalance that is creating a host of social problems.

Though it has started to crack down on the use of ultrasound machines to determine the gender of an unborn child, Chinese lawmakers could not agree on penalties for sex-selection abortions for those who get around the policy.

China now has 120 boys for ever 100 girls, a gender imbalance that is far from the normal 103-100 ratio seen in industrialized nations across the globe. The imbalance has given rise to a culture of massive sex-trafficking and the kidnapping of teenagers and young adults to be forced into marriage.

The "Care for Girls" program previously covered 24 counties in 24 provinces and aims to increase the social status of women. The program will be promoted across the entire nation later this year.

The program also includes a competition in local villages, towns, counties, cities and provinces from July to November to demonstrate knowledge about women.

The country has also become a nation of bachelors as Chinese men have problems finding potential wives and starting families. This has contributed to a rise in crime, prostitution, and other problems.

In May, the Chinese government closed more than 200 clinics in the province of Hebei that were telling women the sex of their unborn children so they could have abortions of girl babies. The Shanghai Daily said there were 134 boys born for every 100 girls in Hebei.

Officials found 848 cases of sex-selection abortions occurring as a result of the clinics telling of the baby’s gender.

The newspaper reported that 745 hospitals and clinics were involved in the investigation and, in addition to those closed, another 374 were fined. The government opened legal cases against three medical workers involved in arranging illegal abortions.

Ironically, population control officials sent portable ultrasound machines to hundreds of cities across the nation in the early 1980s to make sure women who were required to wear a birth control device kept it in. The machines were later used to determine the sex of a baby for an abortion.

But Chinese couples determined to have a son easily get around the new laws as a black market has sprung up of people with ultrasound machines in the trunks of cars or house closets are willing to divulge the sex of an unborn baby for a price.

Some Chinese are selling their girl babies to those seeking girls for their sons. Chinese officials have uncovered massive baby-selling schemes including finding newborns in bags in the back of trucks and on buses on their way to be sold.

The poor parents of unwanted newborn girls sell their babies for a little as $8.