China Continues Crackdown on Sex-Selective Abortion Providers



In October 2013, the Ministry of Health and Family Planning launched a crackdown on illegal medical practices. These illegal practices included facilities with unlicensed doctors, illegal family-planning clinics, and sex-selective abortion providers. The year-long campaign has closed over 5,000 illegal clinics so far. According to People Daily, 7,316 illegal practices were reported in the first three months of the crackdown, and so far 6,538 of them have been settled. Overall, health authorities have investigated 30,462 cases and have been revoking medical licenses, busting illegal groups, and turning cases over to the police for further investigation.


In January, the Ministry of Health and Family Planning busted a gang offering sex-selective abortions. Located in Zhengzhou, the clinic served over 1,000 women from across China in the first half of 2013 alone. Workers did the tests with crudely made tools and CCTV reported that at least one woman died from medical complications associated with her fetal gender test.


A Reuters article reported that 10 people have been implicated in the gang and one ringleader has already been fined 100,000 yuan ($16,500) and given a sentence of 3.5 years in prison. The Ministry of Health and Family Planning condemned the illegal practice, treating it as a serious crime.  “This went on for a long time, covering a wide area and involved many people,” they said. “It was malicious, had serious results and was a great threat to society.”

A month later, an unlicensed abortion provider named Fang was sentenced to eight months in prison after getting arrested in August 2012. In addition to being unlicensed, Fang also provided illegal sex-selective abortions. Authorities caught Fang in the middle of providing an ultrasound for a woman that reportedly cost 590 yuan ($97). In addition to Fang’s sentence, she was fined 2,000 yuan. According to Global Times, Chinese law stipulates that performing sex-selective abortion can warrant up to 10 years in prison.

The Chinese government officially banned sex-selective abortion in 2004 in an attempt to remedy China’s drastically uneven gender ratio. The current boy to girl ratio in China is 118 boys for every 100 girls, in contrast to the biologically natural ratio of about 105 boys for every 100 girls. In 2012, the CIA World Factbook estimated that China has 40 million more males than females. A 2009 study on trends in China’s sex ratio found that sex-selective abortion accounts for almost all the excess males in China. Although sex-selective abortion is illegal in China, this crackdown has shown that it is still a widespread occurrence, albeit underground. A report recently published by C-FAM estimated that nearly 16 million girls are missing in China due to sex selective abortion since 1990.

China’s cultural preference for boys is often blamed for the skewed gender ratio and the epidemic of gendercide. An article by the Guardian provides further insight into this:


“The roots of son-preference lie deep in Chinese culture. Traditionally, the bloodline passes through the male side. Women also 'marry out', joining their husband's families and looking after their in-laws, not their own parents. For a long time, a son was your pension. Having a girl was wasteful.”

Ultrasound technology now makes it much easier to identify and get rid of baby girls, and even though it is illegal to determine the sex of a fetus before birth, it is all too easy to get around this rule. “Legalities tend to yield before strong, socially approved and culturally rooted desires, and have proved a surmountable barrier,” a New York Times article said. “Doctors or technicians may not legally be able to tell you the sex of your fetus, but for a bribe they can smile or frown, light a cigarette or crush one out as they examine your ultrasound.”

Similarly, Professor Li Shuzhuo, from the Institute for Population and Development Studies at Xi'an Jiaotong University, acknowledged that “medical staff often find ways to indicate a baby's sex, despite the law.” He revealed that staff may “nod or shake their head; or use a full stop or comma at the end of medical notes – to indicate that parents have achieved their goal or must continue efforts to have a boy.”

The One-Child Policy only augments this cultural tendency. If parents can only have one child, they prefer to have a boy who can carry on the family name. Since boys don’t marry out into other families like girls do, they can also stay and take care of their parents. Even in rural areas where families can be eligible to have multiple children, boys are prized because they can do field work for the family.

Clearly, changing laws alone cannot remedy the traditional Chinese preference for males. The Guardian agreed that “the battle for China's baby girls will ultimately depend on changing preferences.”

Sex-selective abortion, China’s gender ratio, and the One-Child Policy are all closely tied to a deeply rooted gender inequality in China. To change this, a significant heart change must occur in China’s people.

Changing the views of over one billion people is a task completely impossible for humans, yet with God, nothing is impossible.

This is why we continue to hope and pray for China, and we celebrate that authorities are breaking up illegal abortion gangs and that justice is penetrating the darkness. Although these gangs are symbols of a much larger gender issue, God’s promises remain the same and He is able to transform hearts, just like He did with the Israelites hundreds of years ago:

“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” -Ezekiel 11:19

by Emilie, All Girls Allowed

All Girls Allowed ( was founded in 2010 with a mission to display the love of Jesus by restoring life, value and dignity to girls and mothers in China and revealing the injustice of the One-Child Policy.  “In Jesus’ Name, Simply Love Her.”


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