Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Girl babies don't count - Gendercide Part II

Xinran Xue, a Chinese writer, described a gruesome visit to a peasant family in the Shandong province. The peasant's wife gave birth to baby girl in the home and to Xinran's horror the baby was thrown in a slop pail like roadside dirt by the midwife. The mother was crying as the husband was cursing her out. Xinran tried to save the baby but was stopped by the two police men who had accompanied her. "Don't move," they said. "You can't save it, it's too late." An older woman in the home justified what had happened explained that the baby was not a child. "It's a girl baby, and we can't keep it. Around these parts, you can't get by without a son. Girl babies don't count."

Genocide in China is usually seen as a consequence of the one-child policy or as a product of poverty or ignorance. But it has become clear that there is more to it than these assumed factors. Research shows that between 1990 and 2005 there was surplus of bachelors, known in China as guanggun (bare branches). This increase was not linked to the one child policy. It was a direct result of the war against baby girls.

Like India, China's gender ratio is totally skewed. According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), the ratio in 2011 is 123 boy per 100 girls. These rates are biologically impossible without human intervention.  Nick Eberstadt, a demographer at the American Enterprise Institute, describes it as "the fateful collision between overweening son preference, the use of rapidly spreading prenatal sex-determination technology and declining fertility.

Other countries that show a skewed sex-ratio included Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Serbia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cyprus and Bosnia. The surprising thing is seeing countries as rich and well educated as South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore with high sex-ratio slanted towards males.

 In South Korea, the surplus of bachelors has sucked in brides from abroad. In 2008, 11% of marriages were "mixed" mostly between a Korean man and a foreign woman. South Koreans are known to be hostile to children of mixed marriages and this new trend of importing brides is causing tensions in this homogenous society. This trend is being seen particularly in the rural areas and the government predicts that half the children from these areas will be mixed by 2020. The population of mixed children has grown enough to have produced a new word: "Kosians" the short form of Korean-Asians.

Sources: The Economist

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