NANNING -- With China worried that it does not have enough girls, the central
government is implementing new policies to counter the country's worsening
A nationwide "caring for girls" campaign, speared by the central government's
determination to narrow the imbalance over the next three to five years, has
captured public attention.
"The Chinese government has started to lavish more care on daughter-only
families," said Zhang Jian, head of publicity at the State Population and Family
Planning Commission, the sponsor of the campaign.
The campaign has been launched in 24 counties where there is a serious gender
Families with no sons will receive an annual allowance of 600 yuan (about
US$75) if the parents are over 60 years old. The average yearly income of
families in these counties is around 2,000 yuan (about US$250).
Daughter-only families will also get preferential loans to help them with
agricultural production, Zhang said.
Only daughters will be given bonus marks when they take college entrance
examinations and are promised "special treatment" when looking for jobs.
The gender imbalance reflects a deep-rooted view among Chinese people, dating
back thousands of years, that men are superior to women.
China's fifth population census in 2000 showed the ratio between newborn boys
and girls was 117:100, considerably higher than the normal ratio of 103-107:100.
A sample survey carried out last year, which showed the gap had blown out to
118.58:100, has triggered government action.
Zhang said the imbalance could not be put down to China's population
Imbalances have also occurred in countries like the Republic of Korea and
India, which do not have a family planning program like China's, the official
Statistics from the State Population and Family Planning Commission show that
the ratio between newborn boys and girls in the 24 counties where the campaign
has been implemented has gone down from 133.8:100 to 119.6:100.
Zhang said the commission is considering extending the campaign to other
places this year.
"China has focused too much on controlling population numbers, now it is time
to focus on the structure of the population."