China’s One-Child Policy Creates ‘Serious’ Demographic Problem, Chinese Report Says

A study from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), a government-backed institution, has found that “China’s ‘one couple, one child’ family planning policy” has resulted in a gender imbalance that is the “most serious demographic problem facing” the country, the Times of London reports.

“The report makes no bones about how the one-child policy – introduced to curb population growth and still in place in most circumstances – has led to a preference for boys. … The normal birth ratio of 103-107 boys for every 100 girls began to shift in the 1980s. It rose from 108 boys in 1982 to 111 in 1990 and 116 a decade later,” the Times writes (Macartney, 1/12).

CNN reports, that the one-child “policy has curbed population growth, and has led to forced sterilization in some parts of the country, the U.S. State Department said. Because of a traditional preference for male heirs, many Chinese also have aborted female fetuses, according to human rights groups” (1/11). Though abortion is legal and “widely available” in China, the country does prohibit tests “to determine the gender of a foetus for non-medical reasons, but these are still carried out,” the Times reports, which adds that “[f]emale infanticide is not uncommon, although rarely mentioned” (1/12).

The report found that gender imbalance among newborns has slowed since 2005, but it still has not returned to normal levels, the Global Times reports. The report predicts that more than 24 million Chinese men will have trouble finding a woman to marry by 2020 (Wei, 1/11).

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