China's gender imbalance still growing

Posted: 18 November 2005

China, where 119 boys are born for every 100 girls and by 2020 40 million men may live as frustrated bachelors, has yet to curb its worsening gender imbalance.

"Despite years of special campaigns, the sex ratio has not been checked effectively," Zhang Weiqing, the country's top population official, was quoted by the China Youth Daily as telling a conference. (Previous reports have referred to 117 boys to 100 girls).

Beijing has vowed to reverse the trend by 2010, outlawing sex-selective abortions, launching a tentative scheme to pay moderate pensions to rural parents with no sons and stepping up propaganda that "girls are as good as boys."

In the early 1980s, about 108 boys were born in China for every 100 girls, close to a current global demographic norm of 103 to 107 boys per 100 girls.

Only children

However, China's current ratio of boys to girls has risen since. In the southern provinces of Hainan and Guangdong, it has increased to more than 130 boys per 100 girls.

About 90 million Chinese couples have abided by the one-child policy in the past two decades, the China Youth Daily said, creating possibly the world's largest population of only children.

That in turn has put a $300 billion strain on China's pension system as the number of retired workers is growing faster than the ranks of those paying into pension funds.

Source: Reuters reported in Push Journal 15 November 2005

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