China Admits Gender Imbalance Problem Could Take 15 Years to Solve

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 24, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China Admits Gender Imbalance Problem Could Take 15 Years to Solve Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 24
, 2007

Beijing, China ( — Days after saying they would step up efforts to stop sex-selection abortions and the use of ultrasounds to determine the sex of an unborn child for non-medical reasons, leading Chinese officials have said it could take as much as 15 years for it to resolve its gender imbalance problems.

China currently has a male-female ratio of 119-100 while the number is closer to 103-100 in most industrialized nations.

The figure is as high as 130-100 in some rural areas where a preference for boys is stronger to carry on the family name and work the family farm.

The skewed numbers are a result of China’s family planning policies that allow couples to have just one child and have involved forced abortions and sterilizations to obtain compliance.

"There are many reasons for the gender imbalance, and the first is the existence for thousands of years of a deep-rooted traditional view that men are worth more than women," Zhang Weiqing, head of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, told a news conference.

"Of course, there is a certain relationship between the imbalance and China’s strict family planning policy," Zhang admitted.

"It has only exacerbated the problem, but that is not to say that having this policy has necessarily caused the large imbalance," the official added.

Zhang said the government would do more to raise the standard of women in the nation with economic incentives for parents of girl babies along with its current educational campaigns.

But those, combined with the abortion and ultrasound crackdowns won’t solve the problem any time soon.

"Solving this issue is rather difficult, and we may have to wait 10 to 15 years for the proportion to balance out," Zhang said.

As a result of the gender imbalance, large numbers of Chinese man are finding it difficult to get married. The general imbalanced has also caused an increase in crime, selling of girl babies, prostitution and forcing women into sexual slavery or domestic positions.

Because Chinese couples are limited to one child, abortion and infanticide are frequently used to ensure that child is a boy.

Some girls are even sold or given away in order for Chinese families to have one son to comply with the family planning rules.

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.

As a result, the skewed male-female ratio is growing worse as there are 130 boys to 100 girls in the provinces of Guangdong and Hainan.

China instituted the coercive family planning policy in 1979 and Chinese women and families have been the victims of an intense campaign ever since that has involved forced abortions and sterilizations, and the arrest and harassment of those who resist it.

But the policy has caused the gender imbalance to explode.

Ironically, China distributed ultrasound machines to local clinics on a wide scale after the coercive family planning policy was instituted to ensure women were not pregnant and violating the one-child program.