China's gender imbalance concerns reborn
Updated: 2015-01-30 15:27
The gender imbalance has induced issues including marriage difficulties and human trafficking. There is also the problem of age differences among spouses, which increases the rate of infertility and defects among newborns, Lian, who doubles as an gynecologist, told Xinhua.
"I have treated many infertile girls who went through multiple abortions just to get a boy," she said.
Gao Liping, a demography expert with the Shandong Academy of Social Sciences, said the advancement of technology has given full play to problematic traditional values.
"B ultrasound and DNA detection these days have provided the possibility of determining fetal sex, which directly contributes to China's sex imbalance," Gao said.
Agencies that help with fetal gender determination overseas have also exacerbated the problem.
In a statement last week, the National Health and Family Planning Commission highlighted agencies collecting pregnant women's blood and sending it overseas to determine the gender of the baby. These agents advertise on the Internet and will go to customers' homes or elsewhere to draw blood.
Fetal gender determination is banned in China, except in cases of "medical necessity," but the law does not ban abortions.
The commission said it would crack down on online advertisements for overseas fetal sex determination and ban search engines from linking to websites containing such ads. Illegal agencies on this "underground industrial chain" will be severely punished.
The commission also warned medical staff, reiterating a ban on carrying, mailing or transporting blood samples abroad.
Meanwhile, experts like Lu Jiehua, a sociology professor with Peking University, suggest tougher legal measures to tackle the issue. Lu said that supervision should be ramped up of medical staff as well as of pregnant women.
Lian said that China should also step up efforts to raise women's status in society by criminalizing sexual discrimination. She believes special government agencies should be set up to promote male-female equality.