Chilling, powerful report from Peter Hitchens, (brother of fellow journalist and author Christopher Hitchens, better known in the U.S.) in The Mail on Sunday. (Try to ignore his conservative, off-message digs at feminism and homosexuality because the rest of the piece is worth it):
By the year 2020, there will be 30 million more men than women of marriageable age in this giant empire, so large and so different (its current population is 1,336,410,000) that it often feels more like a separate planet than just another country. Nothing like this has ever happened to any civilisation before.
The nearest we can come to it is the sad shortage of men after the First World War in Britain, France, Russia and Germany, and the many women denied the chance of family life and motherhood as a result…
I visited several state comprehensive schools, primary and secondary, in Danzhou and in the nearby countryside.
These were not official visits, nothing had been prearranged, and European foreigners are so rare in this part of China that the children (and often their friendly teachers too) were enthralled to see that the Europeans they call ‘long-noses’ really do live up to the name.
But as the children stared and chattered and giggled – and pulled at their own little noses to make fun of my enormous one – I quietly counted them, while my colleague Richard photographed them.
And in every cheerful classroom there was a slightly sinister shortage of girls, as if we had wandered into some sort of science fiction fantasy.
We had come to this region because of rumours that it has the most startling ratio of boys to girls in the country. One academic source has suggested there could be a ratio of 168 males for every 100 girls in Danzhou.
Something is clearly out of kilter. In one class of ten-year-olds, only 20 out of 80 were girls. In another classroom, it was 25 out of 63.
It is possible that some girls were being kept away from school because their parents did not think it worth sending them, but even so, the inequality was enormous and perplexing…
What lingers in the mind, in the midst of this surging economic and political titan with its dozens of vast, ultra-modern cities, its advanced plans to land men on the Moon, its utopian schemes to control population and its unstoppable power over the rest of the world, is the inconsolable misery of the bereft parents, the pinched squalor of the places where they must try to live a happy life, the jaunty wickedness of the cheap abortion clinics and the classrooms full of the ghosts of all those girls who were never born.
I found this piece, and the cultural disposability of girls, of future women, nauseating and heartbreaking.
If you live in the United States, almost everything you buy was made in China. They own our debt. They own our future.
These are their values.
These practices arise in areas where cultural norms value male children over female children. Societies that practice sex selection in favor of males are quite common, especially in countries like the People’s Republic of China, Korea, Taiwan, and India.
In 2005, 90 million women were estimated to be “missing” in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan alone, apparently due to sex-selective abortion. The existence of the practice appears to be determined by culture, rather than by economic conditions, because such deviations in sex ratios do not exist in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Sex-selective abortion was rare before the late 20th century, because of the difficulty of determining the sex of the fetus before birth, but ultrasound has made such selection easier. However, prior to this, parents would alter family sex compositions through infanticide. It is believed to be responsible for at least part of the skewed birth statistics in favor of males in mainland China, India, Taiwan, and South Korea. Even today, there are no scientifically proven and commercialized practices that allow gender detection during the first trimester, and ultrasound is fairly unreliable until approximately the 20th week of pregnancy. Consequently, sex selection often requires late term abortion of a fetus close to the limit of viability, making the practice frowned-upon even within the pro-choice community.