BEIJING, March 9, 2004 ( – Li Weixiong described the effect of China’s 22 year-old one-child policy as “a serious threat to building a well-off society” in a speech today before the country’s political consultative conference on population issues.

In what the UK Guardian called “an unusually frank speech,” he described the effect that the one-child policy is having upon women, including a “dramatic rise” in levels of prostitution and the buying and selling of women, which he said was “by no means a sensational prediction.” The effect upon men has been disheartening, as indicated by ‘singles’ want-ads appearing in local newspapers to attract women, highlighting such accoutrements as a “good bathroom.” Less wealthy bachelors are reportedly reverting to brokers who deceive rural women to move into the city through advertisements of phoney job offers. By the year 2000, the normal 107 boy to 100 girl birth ratio had shifted dramatically to about 117 boys to 100 girls. In rural regions, the disparity can reach levels as high as 130 to 100. Ultrasound detection of fetal sex leading to selective abortion of girls is a contributing factor. Neglect of young girls also contributes to a higher infant and childhood mortality. “Such serious gender disproportion poses a major threat to the healthy, harmonious and sustainable growth of the nation’s population and would trigger such crimes and social problems as abduction of women and prostitution,” Li said. His predictions are already reality—police there freed more than 42,000 kidnapped women and children in 2001 and 2002. Many were believed to be sold for the purpose of prostitution or as slave wives. Chinese officials say they have no intention of changing the one-child policy—a measure put in place to ensure the population remains below 1.6 billion until 2050. Read the related special report “UNFPA Supports Coercive Family Planning-Including Forced Abortion in China” at: Read the related report “China’s One-Child Policy to Cripple Chinese Economy” at: Read the Guardian coverage of Li’s speech at:,7369,1165129,00.html