CHINA / National

More efforts urged to curb gender imbalance
Updated: 2006-07-11 22:41

Curbing the gender imbalance in China's birth rate must be a top priority of the government, a senior official said here Tuesday.

The gender imbalance was a complicated issue which needed strong leadership and coordinated efforts from the public, State Councilor Hua Jianmin told a tele-conference marking World Population Day.

Budgets for the government's "Care for Girls" program, initiated in 2003 to promote the social status of women, must be guaranteed by local governments, and departments of family planning, publicity, public security, health and food and drug supervision must step up cooperation, said Hua.

The State Council would dispatch teams to the regions at the end of the year to inspect the work, and would discipline those who failed to do a good job, he said.

More public awareness campaigns on family planning and gender equality were needed and neo-natal services should be improved.

In addition, preferential policies should be ensured for girls and women in healthcare, education and employment. Law enforcement officials must crack down on gender identification and abortion without a medical purpose and the abandonment of newborn girls, Hua said.

China has 80 million one-child families. The gender imbalance has become a serious issue in recent few years because many families, especially those in rural areas, prefer boys to girls.

China has 119 boys born for every 100 girls, while the global ratio is 103-107 boys for every 100 girls.