Women in China Becoming Harder to Find

Fides Cites One-Child Policy and Preference for Male Offspring

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BEIJING, MARCH 8, 2002 (Zenit.org).- China is running short on women: The government´s one-child policy and the traditional preference for boys is threatening the balance of China´s social fabric, the Vatican agency Fides warned today.



Fides published statements of Ren Yuling, a delegate of the Chinese Peoples Political Consultation Committee. Quoting results of a recent census, Ren said that there "is a seriously dangerous ratio for children under 5 -- 119 boys born to every 100 girls; 121 boys aged 4 to every 100 girls. In some areas the situation is even more critical, with 140 boys to 100 girls in parts of Guangxi province and 135 boys to every 100 girls in Hainan province."

"If we don´t do something to improve the male-female ratio, where will men find a wife when they mature in 25 years time?" Ren asked.

Experts attribute the discrepancy to the one-child policy and the fact that girls are often aborted, abandoned or given away to relatives at birth.

The lack of wives for Chinese men has caused serious social problems including kidnapping, trafficking of women, and a thriving prostitution industry, Fides reported.

Ren said that people cannot ignore the link between a lack of brides and the problem of kidnapping. "The numbers mean that some people will never have a spouse, and so there are those who organize criminal activities," she said.

"We must change the mentality that boys are better than girls," Ren continued. "We must work to prevent abortive gender selection in clinics and hospitals and enforce registration of all newborn babies."

Although the Mother and Child Health Law, passed in 1995, specifically bans the practice of aborting a fetus because of gender, the practice continues because of loopholes, corrupt medical personnel, and even a thriving black market.

According to a 2000 study quoted by Fides, many families also resort to female infanticide, which some saw as "delayed abortion," the study´s author said.