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LINFEN, SHANXI, China, December 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — A new study claiming to have “found” China's 30 million missing girls should by no means lessen the fight against the targeting of girls for abortion in the country's population control regime, says women's rights advocate Reggie Littlejohn.

Though some of these 30 million “missing” girls may be accounted for, the fact is that “gendercide still exists,” says Littlejohn.

China's infamous one-child policy created a demographic catastrophe for the nation, with estimates long indicating the nation births 118 boys for every 100 girls. According to the official statistics, since the one-child policy's inception in 1979, the ratio of boys to girls has become increasingly disproportionate because most families prefer a boy.

General estimates range from 30 million to 60 million “missing” Chinese girls who would otherwise have been born.  

But Associate Professor John Kennedy of the University of Kansas has challenged this conclusion in a new study  based on an investigation he began in 1996 with Shi Yaojiang of Shaanxi Normal University in China.

Kennedy and Yaojiang say they have “found” the “missing” girls as unreported female births. The results of their investigation were published in the China Quarterly last month.

They theorize that local Chinese officials agreed to look the other way and allow girls to be born unreported in exchange for parents' cooperation.

“We interviewed villagers and … officials, and everybody had a tacit understanding that yes, millions of girls and some boys, too, were allowed to be unregistered,” Kennedy told SBS, an Australian online news service.

Kennedy said he and Yaojiang compared birth statistics in 1990 to 2010 census records for 20-year-olds and found 4 million extra people than the number of births recorded, including 1 million more women than men.

Last year, China replaced its oppressive one-child policy with a “two-child policy,” but the principle is the same: forced abortions and infanticide for any child conceived after the second.

Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers questioned Kennedy and Yaojiang's research. Conceding that “some girls may be hidden,” Littlejohn maintains, “Sex-selective abortion and abandonment are still very serious problems in China.”

“Regardless of how many girls have been hidden rather than aborted or abandoned, we know that true gendercide also exists in China,” Littlejohn told LifeSiteNews in an email. “Women are pressured to abort or abandon their babies just because they are girls — rather than simply hiding them. Second daughters are particularly vulnerable.”

The international pro-life champion adds hands-on experience to her conclusions. “We have boots on the ground in one area of rural China,” she said. “Our 'Save a Girl' Campaign has saved hundreds of baby girls from abortion or abandonment because they are girls.”

“We know from our experience on the ground in rural China that many girls are not hidden but dead.”

“The idea that Chinese families sometimes hide an 'illegal' child is not news,” Littlejohn explained. “Families have an incentive to misrepresent the number of children they have, either to evade a forced abortion before the child is born or to avoid paying crushing 'terror fines,' which can reach 10 times a couple's annual salary, after the child is born.  All of this is well established,” she said.

Littlejohn said unregistered children “exist without hukou” (household registration), as “illegal aliens in their own land.” “When a child is hidden, she will have no official existence — she will have no healthcare or access to education, for example. … I have long maintained that the hukou system, which discriminates against girls, should be abolished.”

Nevertheless, Littlejohn takes issue with Kennedy's sweeping conclusion, which basically sanitizes China's one-child (now two-child) policy. “The idea that most if not all the 30 million missing women in China can be found among this illegal population is improbable. Researcher Kennedy states, 'If 30 million women are truly missing, then there's going to be more males than females of marriageable age as they start looking for wives.' Agreed. And, of course, that's exactly what's happening, with the formation of 'bachelor villages,' and the new law that Chinese women cannot marry men of a different race.”  

“According to the 2016 State Department Trafficking in Persons Report, China's gender imbalance, caused by the One-Child Policy, is driving international human trafficking from the surrounding nations. This would not occur if 25 million women, hidden at birth, suddenly emerged 20 years later at marriage age,” Littlejohn reasoned.

The U.S. State Department report notes that China's one-child policy “increases the demand for prostitution and for foreign women as brides for Chinese men — both of which may be procured by force or coercion. Women and girls are kidnapped or recruited through marriage brokers and transported to China, where some are subjected to prostitution or forced labor.”

Littlejohn concluded, “Even if some of China's 30 million missing girls and women are alive but hidden, there are still countless more that were selectively aborted or abandoned. We need to continue to fight gendercide in China.”

In 2008, China Daily reported 13 million abortions annually, but it is widely believed that the government grossly under-reports abortions.  The communist regime claims that since the inception of their one-child policy, Chinese women have committed 400 million abortions.