China Sees Preference for Boys Waning as Sex-Selection Abortions Kill Girls

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 4, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China Sees Preference for Boys Waning as Sex-Selection Abortions Kill Girls

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 4
, 2009

Beijing, China ( — Exacerbated by a one-child rule that forced parents to have just one baby, the cultural preference for boys in China resulted in the deaths of millions of girls. Killed by sex-selection abortions and infanticides, the girl babies who met death may now see a better chance at life according to a new poll.

China’s gender imbalance is worse than almost any other nation in the world and China has a surplus of 32 million more men than women.

The situation has led to social problems ranging from high crime and increased prostitution to sex-slavery and human trafficking of girls.

However, a London Telegraph report indicates the attitudes may be changing, and that is good news for Chinese girls.

Researchers in Shanghai recently surveyed almost 3,500 prospective parents and the results were unexpected. While the rest of the couples expressed no preference, 15 percent of those who did wanted a girl baby while 12 percent hoped for a boy.

In older times, sons were valued more, especially in rural areas, because they would carry on the family name, work the family farm, and take care of the parents as they aged. Now, those roles have reversed and one demographer says it makes little difference now because girls are just as capable as boys.

"The reality is that having a son or daughter makes no difference when parents need support. Unlike in rural areas, city residents are covered by social security," Chen Youhua, a demography and sociology professor at Nanjing University, told the Telegraph. "Besides which, daughters are much more thoughtful and caring than sons."

Youhua also notes that the poor economy has made it more difficult to raise sons because the son’s parents are expected to purchase a home for him and his wife.

One Chinese mother said she wanted a girl because the expectations were lower.

"I want my child to be a girl," Yang Min, 32, an expectant mother in Shanghai, told the Telegraph. "Although I prefer boys, there are endless things to worry about, such as finding him a good school, helping him get a good job, and buying a house and a car for him. It’s just too much trouble."

Other parents who wanted girls said they hoped their daughter would marry a rich husband.

Still, Chinese officials told the newspaper that the preference for boys has not subsided in rural areas and that it may as the country does more to provide social security for everyone.

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