China faces bride shortage

August 22, 2011

Experts have warned that millions of Chinese men of marriageble age may be living as frustrated bachelors by 2020 due to the country’s gender imbalance, a trend that will add pressure to social stability.
Boys under 19 outnumber girls in the same age group by 23.77 million, which leads to the inevitable conclusion that more than ten million men will have almost no hope of finding a partner, according to calculations based on data from the National Bureau of Statistics.
May-to-December romances will be more common and there will be more marriageable urban bachelors seeking rural girls, Zhai Zhenwu, dean of the School of Sociology and Population Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing, was quoted as saying by the official People’s Daily.
The impoverished population will be more likely feel the pinch of China’s gender imbalance, with rural men more likely left with no choice but to resort to prostitutes and “mercenary” marriages, in which women are essentially sold to men and forced into marriage, he warned, adding such illegal activities endanger marriages and families as well as social stability.
The traditional Chinese preference for sons who will carry on the family name and take care of their parents in old age was further exaggerated after the country introduced the one-child policy in the 1980s, leading many parents to choose to abort baby girls.
China’s sex ratio at birth was 118.08 males for every 100 females in 2010, higher than the demographic norm of 103 to 107 boys per 100 girls.
All provincial-level regions in China, with the exception of Tibet, have reported gender imbalances, said Yuan Xin, a professor with the Population and Development Research Institute of the School of Economics at Nankai University in Tianjin.
To help restore the gender balance, the government has promoted the idea that “girls are as good as boys” and strengthened efforts to fight sex-selective abortions. A nationwide campaign has been implemented to curb non-medical sex determinations and sex-selective abortions.
During the eight-month campaign which will last from August 2011 to March 2012, efforts will be made to raise awareness of gender equality, punish those involved in cases of non-medical sex determination and sex-selective abortions, and to strengthen monitoring.
Doctors who violate the ban may be stripped of their licenses and medical institutions that permit the practices will also be subject to harsh punishment, said Liu Qian, vice health minister.


-With input                                                                                         Image courtesy: Xinhua

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