China's One-Child Policy Blamed for Widening Gender Imbalance
Like it or not, the controversial One-Child Policy instituted in 1978 has helped shape the powerful, increasingly prosperous China of 2011. It's sobering to consider that as many as 400 million births were prevented due to restrictions on family size.
Though the policy has definitely created a little breathing room in urban China, it's also spawned some serious distortions in the make-up of Chinese society that have governmental authorities seriously concerned.
Now it should be stated that the One-Child Policy does not now, nor never has, applied to every Chinese couple. In fact, only about 35 percent of the nation's newlyweds are affected and a wide range of exceptions are allowed. Immigrants to China, for example, aren't covered by the policy and neither are rural families or ethnic minorities.
Those covered by the One-Child Policy have found themselves under pressure to have their only allowed child be male.
The reasons for this are many, including traditional cultural preferences and perceived greater economic opportunities for men. These pressures have contributed to a sharp rise in female infanticide and, along with more widespread use of medical technologies, an increasing rate of sex-selective abortions.
The end result is a startling gender imbalance, measured by the 2010 census to be 118 boys born for every 100 girls. Back in 1982 the ratio was 108:100, rising to 111:100 in 1990 and 116:100 in 2000.
The Chinese government, shaken by these new figures, is taking strong action to crack down on abuses of medical technology. “Doctors found practicing non-medical-related sex checkups or sex-selective abortions will lose their licenses,” stated Liu Qian, China's Deputy Health Minister, “and any medical institutions found to be involved will also be given harsh punishments.”
Whether these new measures will be enough to tilt the balance back to historic gender ratios only time will tell but for the time being, being a girl in China means never having a problem finding partners at the dance of life. (via China Daily)