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- Chai Ling
GENDERCIDE IN CHINA
In China, the three words “It’s a girl!” are often received with sadness and disappointment because parents have a strong cultural preference for boys. Joinedwith the strict One-Child Policy, this preference has fatal implications for China’s girls. Currently, one out of every six girls is eliminated through sex-selective abortion, abandonment, or infanticide. That means 1.1 million girls are lost every year.
Gendercide, defined as “the systematic extermination of a particular gender,” has become widespread in China. With the use of illegal ultrasound equipment, couples can determine the sex of their child and choose to abort the female fetus. In other cases, midwives have been reported to deliver “stillborn” girls by strangling the female infant with the umbilical cord as she is delivered. These unjust practices have led to a deep gender imbalance in China, whose ratio of male to female births has grown to 120:100, compared to a world average of 105:100.11
“The gender imbalance has been growing wider year after year.”
—The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
BY THE NUMBERS
- 37 MILLION more men than women live in China, thanks to gendercide.2
- 120 boys are born for every 100 girls. This means 1 OUT OF EVERY 6 girls is lost to gendercide.3
- 30 MILLION Chinese men will be unable to find spouses by 2020, threatening a dangerous bachelor boom.
- 1 MILLION infants are abandoned in China each year, and most of these are healthy girls.
- 70,000 Chinese children are trafficked each year.
- 35,000 abortions are performed each day in China under the One-Child Policy.
- 500 women commit suicide every day in China. It is the only nation where more women than men kill themselves.
- 485 MILLION people in China live on less than $2 per day.
- Higher sex ratios are linked with increases in trafficking, rape, prostitution, and overall crime. (China’s crime rate has nearly doubled in the last 20 years.)
- The most normal sex ratios are seen where the One-Child Policy is most permissive.
- Historically, a surplus of young men has led to unrest or expansionist foreign policy. (World War II-era Japan and modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan both experienced a bachelor boom and unrest.)
- China’s gender imbalance is contributing to its trade imbalance with the United States.
- A financial incentive for parents to keep girls can reduce gendercide rates. (Avraham Ebenstein, an economist, found that when making decisions about sex selection, Chinese families viewed a first-born son to have a worth of about 1.85 years of income, while the first-born girl held a value of only about 0.43 years of income.)
1 Sex ratios are presented as the number of boys per 100 girls. The biologically natural sex ratio is 105, which means that 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. That figure is also represented as 105:100.
2 U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Annual Report 2008.
3 British Medical Journal.