Tuesday, January 23, 2007

China's Gender Imbalance Will Sort Itself Out

So they say. It's hard to change "thousands of years of deep-rooted" tradition.

China says needs 15 years to tackle gender imbalance
BEIJING (Reuters) - It could take up to 15 years for China's gender imbalance to sort itself out, the country's top family planner said on Tuesday, admitting that three decades of strict population policies had contributed to the problem.

In 2005, there were 118 boys to every 100 girls born in China as wider use of ultrasound and easy availability of abortions compounded a traditional preference for boys. In some parts of the country, the imbalance is as high as 130 to 100.

"There are many reasons for the gender imbalance, and the first is the existence for thousands of years of a deep-rooted traditional view that men are worth more than women," said Zhang Weiqing, head of the National Population and Family Planning Commission...

"Solving this issue is rather difficult, and we may have to wait 10 to 15 years for the proportion to balance out."...

Last year it scrapped plans to make sex-selective abortion -- which is already banned -- a crime. Experts have said such a step would more effectively deter parents from aborting baby girls.
Zhang did not elaborate on what specific legal methods the government would use to deal with the problem.

But he defended the national population plan -- which he said had prevented 400 million births in the past 30 years -- and said it was wrong to think of it as a "one-child" policy...

Only just over one third of the population was strictly limited to just one child, but in 19 provinces rural couples were allowed to have another baby if their first was a girl, the minister said.

And in five provinces, including the southern island of Hainan and Yunnan in the southwest, all rural parents were allowed to have two children.


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