Monday January 11, 2010

China Admits Massive Gender Imbalance from One Child Policy

By Hilary White

January 11, 2010 ( – The Chinese state media has admitted that the country’s One Child policy has resulted in a potentially disastrous demographic crisis. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences reports that the policy that mandates abortion for many pregnancies, combined with sex-selection and a cultural preference for boys, has created a gender imbalance that will result in 24 million men who cannot find wives by 2020.

The Academy study said that for every 100 girls born in China, 119 boys are born. In some areas, the split is 100 to 130. Gender selective abortions have become “extremely common” with the introduction of ultrasound technology since the late 1980s.

Sex-specific abortions have led to a large male population born since the 1980s, the China Daily newspaper said. According to China Daily, the policy has resulted in the “prevention” of about 400 million children.

Researcher Wang Guangzhou was quoted by the Global Times newspaper saying, “The chance of getting married will be rare if a man is more than 40-years-old in the countryside. They will be more dependent on social security as they age and have fewer household resources to rely on.”

According to the current law, city-dwelling couples are allowed to have only one child unless neither parent has siblings and those living in rural areas may have up to two children.

The Washington Post reports that mothers from mainland China are exploiting a loophole in the law that allows them to give birth in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous area, and thereby to have more than one child. They are also attracted to the higher quality of health care that features many western-trained health workers. Parents are attracted to the former British colony where native children receive permanent residence status that allows free education, free medical care and a Hong Kong passport with visa-free access to more than 100 countries. Government statistics show that 44 of every 100 babies born in Hong Kong had mainland Chinese mothers.

After a generation of the one-child policy, and with the severity of the demographic implications finally becoming undeniable, Chinese officials are cautiously indicating that there may be changes coming. The city of Shanghai is one city in China that has realized the danger of a baby-bust, which has resulted in media-based effort to boost the city’s flagging birth rate. Couples in that city are now allowed to have a second child and officials are considering more changes.

Nicole Kempton, Washington Director of the Laogai Research Foundation, called on the Obama administration to speak out against China’s One Child policy that has killed so many of the country’s girls. Writing in the Huffington Post, Kempton said the One Child policy, “represents an unprecedented State intrusion concerning women’s reproductive choices.”

Kempton praised the pro-abortion UN’s 1994 Cairo conference saying it “has had a powerful and measurable impact on reproductive health, infant mortality, and maternal empowerment.” But she noted that China has used the Cairo conference “as moral cover for the draconian methods employed in enforcing the One Child Policy.”

Far from decrying China’s human rights abuses, including forced abortion, against violators of the policy, “many proponents of zero population growth used the occasion to applaud China for its efforts at population growth reduction,” Kempton wrote.

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