Chinese authorities have vowed to take tough measures to control fetus-gender
testing and sex-selective abortions to check the rising sex-ratio imbalance.
"People who illegally test the gender of fetuses and perform sex-selective
abortions face serious punishment," said a statement jointly issued by the
Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council.
The authorities also pledged to improve the protection of baby girls, warning
that people who kill, abandon or injure infant girls or ill-treat their mothers,
will be severely punished.
medicines and medical institutions that use ultra-sound technology to check
fetus health will be more closely supervised, it said.
China's gender ratio for newborn babies in 2005 was 118 boys for every 100
girls, compared with 110:100 in 2000. In some southern regions like Guangdong
and Hainan, the figure has reached 130 boys for every 100 girls.
By 2020, there will be some 30 million more men of marriage age than women,
said a recent report.
The statement said the gender-ratio imbalance amounts to "a hidden danger"
for society that will "affect social stability".
In an attempt to halt the growing imbalance, a "Care for Girls" campaign was
launched nationwide in 2000 to promote equality between men and women. Cash
incentives are also offered to girl-only families in the countryside.
The authorities said such programs will continue to fight discrimination
against girls and ensure their healthy growth.
The authorities also pledged to "firmly" continue the 33-year-old family
planning policy, as the country still faces huge challenges from a growing
Formulated in the early 1970s, the family planning policy encourages late
marriages and late childbearing, and limits most urban couples to one child and
most rural couples to two.
The policy is credited with preventing 400 million births but faces a
challenge in rural regions, where the traditional preference for male heirs has
The authorities promised to continue to improve family planning services in
rural areas and help girl-only families.
The authorities also said those who violate the family planning policy,
especially Party members and government officials, face penalties.
"Maintaining a low birth rate is the priority of family planning during the
next phase," it said, adding that the next four years is a "crucial" period.
The population figure is expected to hit 1.36 billion by 2010 and 1.45
billion by 2020 before peaking at 1.5 billion in 2033. The current population is
"Over the coming decades, China's overall population will increase by 8 to 10
million a year," bringing unprecedented challenges to the country's social and
economic development, the statement said.
China will further increase public spending in population and family
planning, according to the statement.
By 2010, outlay per person is expected to be 30 yuan ($3.84), up from 10 yuan
($1.28) person in 2005.
(China Daily 01/23/2007 page1)