By Terry Vanderheyden

BEIJING, April 26, 2006 ( – A Chinese official has claimed that the country’s one-child policy has nothing to do with the gender imbalance, and that no changes in the policy are therefore forthcoming.

“Adjusting the family planning policy is not a fundamental solution to dealing with a rising sex ratio,” claimed National Population and Family Planning Commission Director Zhang Weiqing, according to an Agence France-Presse report. “Does the imbalance have something to do with family planning? Yes, but there is no direct connection,” he added.

Zhang said the gender imbalance is more to do with the idea that “boys are better than girls,” and that parents are using ultrasound to determine a baby’s sex to selectively abort girls.

There are 117 boys for every 100 girls born in China, according to a 2000 census report. Between 2015 and 2030, there will be 25-million men with no hope of finding a spouse, according to France’s National Institute of Demographic Studies, which released a report on the issue in October. Human traffickers are increasingly targeting women for abduction, further amplifying the sex disparity in some regions.

Zhang boasted that the one-child policy has eliminated 400 million babies since its inception in the early 1970s. “China will see its total population, working-age population and aging population all reach their peaks in the middle of this century,” he added.

The Population and Family Planning Commission director admitted in 2004 that the disproportionate ratio of seniors to working age people is going to lead to a failure of social security and retirement programs. In 1999, there were 10 workers per retiree; by 2020, this ratio is expected to fall to six workers and to three workers per retiree by 2050. The worker shortage in China is expected to have disastrous economic consequences, a forecast which parallels similar predictions for industrialized western nations.

Zhang’s claims contradict a previous assertion from a Chinese official who in 2004 described the “serious gender disproportion” there as “a major threat to the healthy, harmonious and sustainable growth of the nation’s population and would trigger such crimes and social problems as mercenary marriage, abduction of women and prostitution.” Li Weixiong, deputy chairman of the family planning committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, described the gender disproportion as a direct effect of the one-child policy.

See related coverage:
  Slavery, Prostitution Effect of China’s One-Child Policy
  China’s One-Child Policy Leading to One-Sex Population
  China’s One-Child Policy to Cripple Chinese Economy
  China Admits its Girl Shortage Caused by One Child Policy is a “Major Threat”


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