Baidu Beat

“If you are a parent, I invite you to watch this program. If your child is between the ages of zero and 19, I urge you to watch this program. If your child is a girl, I offer you my congratulations, for you are already an emperor. Why do I say this? Because the emperor’s daughter does not need to worry about getting married. But if your child is a boy, then I will worry on your behalf, for how will your son find a future wife?”

Such was the introduction to the popular CCTV news show “News 1+1” which that night investigated the widening gender ratio imbalance in China that has bachelors and non-emperor parents alike agonizing over the future. And not without good reason. While it has been more than thirty years since the Chinese government first introduced the One Child Policy, its negative social consequences are just now beginning to be felt. According to the 2010 Chinese census, there are now 118.08 males for every 100 females. In some provinces, the sex ratio imbalance is as bad as 130 males for every 100 females. It gets worse. Forecasts predict that in 2020, the number of males in China will exceed the number of females by more than ten million.

But if you happen to be a Chinese man and are worried about your future dating prospects given the increasing shortage of Chinese women, fear not – the Chinese government is now officially on your side. A spokesman for the government announced earlier this week on Tuesday that the National Population and Family Planning Commission, Ministry of Public Security and six other government departments have been pulled together to resolve the problem of China’s growing gender ratio imbalance. They expect to do so by cracking down on the “two wrongs” of family planning – 1) fetus gender identification, and 2) sex-selective abortion. CCP officials hope that the clampdown on the agencies and people involved in these illegal practices will reverse the worrisome trend toward a greater sex ratio imbalance.

While the government’s concern may be interpreted as an act of goodwill toward the plight of lonely bachelors, it is more likely that their concern stems from the potential threat to stability they see in having ten million libidinally-deprived young males roaming the streets of China. Such a concern is valid, and alleviating the problem of sex-selective abortions and prenatal gender discrimination is certainly a step in the right direction. But if the government is serious about resolving this problem, they would do well to look beyond mere symptomatic solutions. If they are serious about balancing the gender ratio, the government must look to address the root causes of the problem, such as by questioning the tradition of patriarchy, improving care for the elderly, and perhaps further amending or even eradicating the One Child Policy itself. Only then will the gender ratio be balanced, and the minds of both bachelors and non-emperor parents reassured.

“Population gender ratio imbalance”( 人口性别失衡 rénkǒu xìngbié biè shīhéng ) currently ranks 9th in Baidu’s real-time search results.

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