Sex Ratio in Tibet Exposes Link between the One-Child Policy and Gendercide

Today, Wikileaks released a report from China with alarming statistics, calling for immediate action to end the prenatal sex-selection and postnatal killing of girls.  In a section of the report entitled, “China’s Sex Ratio Imbalance Abnormally High and Still Growing,” the organization reported:

 

“From a near normal sex-ration at birth (SRB) of 107.6 in 1982, China's national average SRB rose to 116.9 in the 2000 population census, triggering the country's first public acknowledgement of the sex imbalance problem in 2002. (NOTE: A natural sex ratio at birth is between 103 and 107. END NOTE) The SRB rose to 118.58 in 2005 and has continued to creep up each year since then, reaching a high of 120.56 in 2008 (National Statistical Bureau/NSB)”.

 

According to this report, Tibet shows a missing link between the One-Child Policy and 37 million missing girls.  While many have argued that ending the One-Child Policy in China will have little effect on restoring the gender imbalance to normal, this report showed strong evidence of the link between the policy and high SRBs, and pointed out an increase in both high-income and low-income provinces of China: “By the 2005 inter-census, however, only Tibet still showed a normal SRB of 105.15. (NOTE: Tibet has the most permissive family planning in China with no birth limitation policies for Tibetans residing within the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). END NOTE) The SRB also has increased across both high-income and low-income provinces. ”

 

Worse yet, the sex ratio imbalance is not simply an abortion issue, as it is so often portrayed.  Girls are particularly mistreated after birth. “In meetings on November 19 with Lisa Ng Bow, UNICEF China's Chief for Plans of Action and Promotion of Child Rights, and on December 4 with Mariam Khan, UNFPA's Deputy Country Representative, ESTHOff learned that the strong preference for sons over daughters in China continues to be reflected in the neglect and mistreatment of girls…the neglect of girls is most frequently seen in access to urgent medical care, especially in the immediate period after birth.

 

Professor LI Shuzhou's "missing girls" study (2009)...found 80 boy deaths to every 100 girl deaths, even though in normal populations, male children typically have a slightly higher mortality rate than female children.  A 2006 study by Fudan University's Professor WU Zhuochun that followed a cohort of 3,697 pregnancies from 20 rural villages in Anhui province from pregnancy registration through seven days after birth found not only a sex ratio at birth of 159 (boys to girls), but also that the likelihood of death for girls was almost three times that of boys during the first 24 hours of life.”

 

While underreporting of girl births plays a part in these ratios, the report concludes with a warning, highlighting the dire need to act on this tragedy in China: “..the government must make normalizing the imbalance a more urgent policy priority.  To bring the imbalance under control, China must not only control the means of prenatal sex selection now so commonly (if illegally) practiced, but must also target and transform a deeply-rooted cultural son preference and bias against girls.”

 

As reported in paragraph one, China’s SRB began to increase sharply after the One-Child Policy was implemented in 1980.  The policy was set to remain for 30 years, but turns 31 this September.  Last year, Li Bin, Minister of National Population and Family Planning Commission of China sealed the fate of millions of additional Chinese fetuses and infants when she proclaimed continuation of the policy: "Historical change doesn't come easily, and I, on behalf of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, extend profound gratitude to all, the people in particular, for their support of the national course,” according to a CNN report. "So we will stick to the family-planning policy in the coming decades.”

 

 

 

 

All Girls Allowed is a humanitarian organization devoted to restoring life, value and dignity to girls and mothers, and to exposing the injustice of China’s One-Child Policy.  Visitors to allgirlsallowed.org can sign the petition to end forced abortions and sterilizations, find resources and statistics about women and girls’ rights in China, and watch videos explaining the problem of gendercide worldwide.

 

The full Wikileaks report is available at: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2010/01/10BEIJING17.html







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