Sex-Selection Abortions May be Down in China, Abductions of Boys Increasing

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 8, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Sex-Selection Abortions Maybe Down in China, Abductions of Boys Increasing

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 8
, 2009

Shanghai, China ( — A new report indicates sex-selection abortions may be decreasing in one city in China, but the Chinese cultural preference for boy is causing other problems. While the gender imbalance is improving in Shanghai, another report indicates the abduction of boys is increasing.

The Asian nation’s cultural mores favor having sons over daughters to carry on the family name, farm or business.

That has resulted in a high number of sex-selection abortions and a male-female gender ratio that is so far out of balance that a bachelor society has been created with a noticeable lack of girls and young women.

New figures in Shanghai indicate an improvement — however sleight — in the figures in the large urban city.

The gender ratio for newborns among families considered to be permanent residents amounted to 114.8 boys for every 100 girls last year, down from 115.2 in 2007. That is the first time the gender imbalance improved in eight years, according to population control officials.

According to the Shanghai Daily newspaper, the ratio for the city’s most stable population was 106.5 boys to 100 girls in 2008, 1.2 points lower than in 2007.

The Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission noted the biggest change among the three separate indicators it tracks is the change for migrants who have been in the city less than six months. That rate fell from 123.4 boys to every 100 girls in 2007 to last year’s 121.9 to 100.

The numbers come after a move by the Shanghai government to provide more education subsidies, and training opportunities for girls.

The city also tightened inspections of underground clinics that either do ultrasounds only to determine the baby’s gender or do sex-selection abortions. The newspaper indicated 106 illegal clinics were shut down in 2008 alone.

Despite the good news, a new report in the New York Times indicates the abduction of young boys is on the rise as some couples want a boy child in their home.

The report indicates kidnappings are taking place on the streets of China’s urban centers and thousands of boys have gone missing and never recovered.

"Although some are sold to buyers in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, most of the boys are purchased domestically by families desperate for a male heir," parents of abducted children and some law enforcement officials who have investigated the matter, told the Times.

The demand is especially strong in rural areas of south China where the cultural preference for boys is at its highest.

Part of the reason for the abductions is fallout from the one-child population rule itself — where couples are only allowed one child. Chinese officials enforce the rule with forced abortions, involuntary sterilizations and other human rights abuses.

That system has resulted in fewer children who will be able to support the aging Chinese population and some families are resulting to abducting boys to work and support them as they retire.

The Times indicates as many as tens of thousands of boys may have been abducted in recent years, although official figures are virtually impossible to compile.

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.