Posted by: Tony Carson | 25 August, 2007

The Chinese one-child policy and bachelordom

The backlash to the one-child policy in China, designed to keep the population growth from getting entirely out of hand, has been having its predictable consequences. The perceived bread-winner, boys, have long been the bi-ped of choice in the Middle Kingdom.

And the evidence for this abounds. As the BBC reports in an article entitled China to act on gender imbalance, 99 cities had gender ratios higher than 125 — for a reasonable gender harmony the UN recommends a gender ratio of no more than 107.

The eastern city of Lianyungang had the greatest imbalance in the population. Among children under 4, there are 163.5 boys for every 100 girls.

Population policies and campaigns were introduced into China in the 1950s. During the 1970s, a campaign of ‘One is good, two is OK and three is too many’ was heavily promoted. In 1979, the policy the West calls One-Child and the Chinese refer to as the ‘Planned Birth policy’ was introduced. From the beginning it was criticized both from within and outside China due to allegations of extreme methods of enforcement such as forced abortions and other human rights abuses by the local authorities.

The program has worked in its major objective: China’s population has not dramatically increased from it current 1.3 billion and will be passed as the country with the largest population in the world by India in 2025. The birth rate in India (31 per thousand people) is greater than that of China (20 per thousand people).

The range of consequences of so great a gender imbalance have predictable impacts on society, not the least in marriage.

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