April 14, 2018

"Sex selection abounded in China’s ultrasound rooms and abortion clinics during the 1980s and ’90s..."

"... but laws and regulations enacted since 2001 have forbidden hospitals from carrying out the procedure. Unfortunately, this has led to the emergence of a network of so-called black clinics: underground establishments that offer illegal sex screening and abortions, and are usually operated by unqualified personnel. When preimplantation genetic diagnosis technology — a way of profiling the genes of an embryo before implantation in the womb — was first used in Chinese clinics in 1999, some of these customers then began appearing at underground IVF clinics, too. In the vast majority of cases, couples undergo illegal sex screening because they want to give birth to a boy, not a girl. Chinese society has historically favored sons over daughters for a number of reasons, particularly the notion that only sons can continue the family line. Although this cultural preference for boys harms society as a whole, couples who opt for illegal sex screening never seem to remember that many of their hoped-for baby boys will one day struggle to find romantic partners, thanks to their parents’ contribution to the country’s skewed sex ratio."

From "Chinese Couples Want Boys — Trust Me, I’m a Fertility Doctor/Too many parents-to-be come to me asking about illegal sex screening, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg" (Sixth Tone).

62 comments:

rhhardin said...

There's trouble finding a mate but it does cut down on nagging.

JAORE said...

Millions of young Chinese men with no prospects of a partner. What could go wrong?

Of course the sex robot industry might experience a boom.

David Begley said...

And parents are limited to only one child. Or at least they use to be.

I read in the WSJ (or maybe it was The Atlantic) that Chinese babies don't wear diapers. They just poop on the sidewalk or wherever.

whitney said...

" In the 14th century, the book claims, 113 boys were born for every 100 girls. By the early 20th century, the ratio was 120 boys to 100 girls."

I don't believe this. I think it's more likely it was due to infanticide

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

I don't know why humans don't talk more about mass sterilization.


Michael K said...


Blogger JAORE said...
Millions of young Chinese men with no prospects of a partner. What could go wrong?


Not only the numbers but I see Chinese girls marrying Caucasians, something that just wasn't done in the past.

Two good friends of my daughter's are a young man who was teaching English in Shanghai and one of his students who have since married. My Chinese medical student was married to a Caucasian man.

Maybe it is a reaction to the rejection of girls by the state, which allowed parents to choose by sex.

gilbar said...

"Millions of young Chinese men with no prospects of a partner. What could go wrong?"

google answers my question: how many more men than women in china?
with CNN saying 30,000,000

google answers my question: how many people are in the american military?
with answers.com saying Roughly 1% of Americans are in the united states military
* 1% of 300,000,000 (population of us ) = 3,000,000

so, Ten Times more potential soldiers in china then there are soldiers in US
30,000,000 guys with no sweethearts (and thus not much to worry about losing)
I can see the movie title now: CHINA NEEDS WOMEN!

mockturtle said...

Boys are favored in part because they are bound by tradition to care for their parents and the parents are looking toward their own future security.

Curious George said...

This reminds me of our resident dullard saying she was "100% for Roe v Wade" but wanted gender selection abortions to be illegal.

Michael K said...

The numbers of young males with no access to females is similar in Muslim countries where harems sequester females in relationships with older men while young men are excluded.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

By the early 20th century, the ratio was 120 boys to 100 girls.

And just HOW is this a problem in the 21st century? We live in a more enlightened age now which celebrates gays and gay relationships. Seems fairly obvious that the men who do not "get the girl" will naturally become romantically involved with other men, sharing a life together.

What's the problem then?

Bob Boyd said...

Every baby should be assigned it's corresponding husband or wife prior to conception. Babies could be paired up as part the permitting process.
Facebook is probably already working on the AI for the Chinese government.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

mock: Boys are favored in part because they are bound by tradition to care for their parents and the parents are looking toward their own future security.

Quite the opposite of our "a son is a son 'til he takes him a wife/but a daughter's a daughter for all of her life". Son preference also existed (and still exists) in the West to some degree, but it was always less extreme, perhaps partly due to females maintaining membership/status in their birth family, rather than being entirely absorbed by the husband's family (and thus a complete loss of parental investment). Christianity perhaps also played a role in tempering that preference.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

whitney: " In the 14th century, the book claims, 113 boys were born for every 100 girls. By the early 20th century, the ratio was 120 boys to 100 girls."

I don't believe this. I think it's more likely it was due to infanticide


What is the "this" you don't believe? The author doesn't state it directly, but infanticide is certainly the implied cause of the skewed ratio. Unless you think he's implying that it was the result of natural causes or 14th- or early 20th-century ultrasound and IVF technology, which would be an odd inference.

mockturtle said...

Seems fairly obvious that the men who do not "get the girl" will naturally become romantically involved with other men, sharing a life together.

What's the problem then?


So, Mark, you are making the case for homosexuality as a choice. Isn't the argument that they have no control over their sexual preference?

mockturtle said...

The clear solution is polyandry. :-)

Michael K said...

We live in a more enlightened age now which celebrates gays and gay relationships.

Not in Muslim countries. This is a real issue for them as homosexuality is not rare when men have no access to females, as in prison. The British troops complained about being constantly propositioned by Afghan boys in drag and were told to shut up about it.

The Muslim antipathy to homosexuality is because of its attraction in that society.

rehajm said...

As a species we seem pretty good at self-regulating the population.

whitney said...

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard

The quote I included said born. Infanticide is post-birth

Temujin said...

I see an opening for Planned Parenthood, Inc. to provide their 'services' to the Chinese.

Also, the reason the Chinese prefer boys to girls is that boys don't do this: here

Deep-State Reformer said...

A large difference in the ratio of men to women is troubling and could lead to problems in the future? What does that Sinophile NY Times columnist Friedman think about this Althouse? According to several of his books the Chinese have it right where Fukuyama and his ilk have it wrong about who has the best societal form, the liberal democracies or the techocratic PRC.

mockturtle said...

Michael K reports: The British troops complained about being constantly propositioned by Afghan boys in drag and were told to shut up about it.

They didn't all complain.

Gahrie said...

And just HOW is this a problem in the 21st century? We live in a more enlightened age now which celebrates gays and gay relationships. Seems fairly obvious that the men who do not "get the girl" will naturally become romantically involved with other men, sharing a life together.

I am told that the Chinese government is promoting male homosexuality as a solution.

The Godfather said...

The Chinese prefer boy children to girl children because the boys will take care of the parents in old age, but the girls won’t? So China is a Communist country, but doesn’t have a government program to take care of its elderly? Weird!

Mark said...

So, Mark, you are making the case for homosexuality as a choice.

No, I am merely repeating the claim that a large percentage of people are naturally homosexual and that these men would have no use for women anyway. After all the gay guys hook-up, then that should leave some greater equivalence in male-female numbers.

Gahrie said...

The Chinese prefer boy children to girl children because the boys will take care of the parents in old age, but the girls won’t?

The Chinese tradition is for the wife to leave her family and become part of the husband's family. This includes the responsibility to look after his parents.

The wife's parents are cared for by their son's wife.

Michael K said...

China is a Communist country, but doesn’t have a government program to take care of its elderly? Weird!

My Chinese medical student told me she came to the US so she could care for her parents when they got old. Her mother was a professor at Beijing U and her father, who had trained as a physicist, was an auto mechanic because he was a Christian and unemployable by the government.

She is now a surgeon and her mother, the last I heard, had come over here.

Gahrie said...

The part that has troubled me for nearly twenty years now is that India has a similar problem for the same reason. India and China share a border. Two bordering countries with a history of disputes, millions of extra men and a nuclear arsenal trouble me greatly.

Darkisland said...

Mark,

The problem is that, supposedly, homosexuality is innate. That would mean that it would be detectable in the womb.

Many parents might consider this abnormality undesirable and abort gay babies.

Since we are constantly told that gaus are "born that way" non-gay people would not enter into same sex relationships.

Caveats: other than repeated assertion and threats to non-believers, there doesn't seem to be much evidence to the "born that way" meme.

IF there is a gay gene, it is not currently detectable in utero.

John Henry

Darkisland said...

I would second whoever it was earlier. If women should be able to choose to abort at any time for any reason, then why is sex selection not as valid as any other reason?

John Henry

AZ Bob said...

I have several friends who have adopted Chinese girls who were left abandoned at the door step of the orphanage or City Hall. This practice has also reduced the number of women in China today. They have done well although they might have studied a little harder if their parents were Chinese too.

Darkisland said...

Mark,

What claim is this that a large percentage of men are gay?

What is the number you have in mind?

The highest I've ever seen is 10% from Kinsey and that has been widely debunked. I don't think I have ever seen anything above the 3-4% range.

Perhaps you have some info I'm missing?

John Henry

Michael K said...

I have several friends who have adopted Chinese girls who were left abandoned at the door step of the orphanage

All Chinese adoptions I have heard of are girls.

rhhardin said...

I would second whoever it was earlier. If women should be able to choose to abort at any time for any reason, then why is sex selection not as valid as any other reason?

Public policy. You don't want the imbalance.

I'd predict that abortion will be outlawed for the same reason, but having to do with population decline. We need accidents to keep the population up, since choice isn't doing it.

tcrosse said...

I have several friends who have adopted Chinese girls who were left abandoned at the door step of the orphanage

Has this led to Chinese Girl Baby Mills ?

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

John Henry: I would second whoever it was earlier. If women should be able to choose to abort at any time for any reason, then why is sex selection not as valid as any other reason?

Not many people have trouble with "your freedom of choice ends where 'harming the long-term good of society' begins". It's just that we have huge disagreements about what what should always be a matter of individual choice, and what is properly restricted/coerced for the good of society. E.g., people will give different priorities to "reproductive freedom" and "bake the gay wedding-cake" on the individual freedom/good of society scale, depending on what they think is rightly coerced for the greater good.

(That aside, there's also an "intersectionality" problem in being against sex-selective abortion - it's no fun if it means you end up disproportionately haranguing "people of color" about their choices, rather than the "white male patriarchy".)

Luke Lea said...

An excess of young unmarriageable males could easily lead to war just to give them something to do.

Darkisland said...

Rhhardin

I agree that banning sex selective abortion is probably good public policy to avoid imbalance.

I agree that the imbalance is bad for any society.

The argument that many feminists make is that aborting girls is anti-woman.

They also make the argument that a woman has a absolute right to choose to have an abortion.

I question how to square that circle.

John Henry

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

whitney: The quote I included said born. Infanticide is post-birth

Good catch, that would make it an imprecise statement, but I don't think he's claiming any cause apart from infanticide as an explanation.

I'm not seeing that he's implying other causes here, as you seem to be insisting. It's just sloppy usage of "born". It is unlikely that the births of infanticided girls made it into any of those earlier official "birth" records.

What do you think he's implying?

readering said...

sounds like sex robots will be the solution.

Bruce Hayden said...

Interestingly, the Indian problem seems to be its dowry system, and not its social security system. Parents of girls have to buy husbands, while the parents of boys are the recipients of the dowries. Still, regardless of cause, the two most populous countries in the world, sharing both a common border and a common surplus male problem, is worrisome.

the 4chan Guy who reads Althouse said...

I guess my question is how do the parents know they are aborting a baby girl?

I mean, she hasn't even had a chance to be born and figure out her gender yet.

campy said...

This reminds me of our resident dullard

You should use the plural here.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

John Henry:

The argument that many feminists make is that aborting girls is anti-woman.

They also make the argument that a woman has a absolute right to choose to have an abortion.

I question how to square that circle.


Same way we all square the circle of individual rights vs. "the greater good". Some people are better than others at making arguments that don't come across as such transparent samples of special pleading, but all such arguments boil down to "this is where I draw the line because reasons". You do it, I do it.

"My body, my choice, except when sex-selection is involved" does sound really dumb on the face of it, and doubtless many make such arguments in bad faith, but there's nothing inherently stupid or contradictory about believing that allowing sex-selection will have such disastrous higher-order social effects that preventing them trumps the highly-valued "freedom of choice" that one believes should otherwise be allowed to prevail, because in other cases the good of individual freedom outweighs the possible negative consequences of choice.

(N.B., *I* am not making that argument re sex-selective abortion.)

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

This is going to sound sexist, but the odd thing here from my perspective is that Chinese women, from recent generations at least, and taking account of my limited experience, are generally more effective people, on average, than Chinese men, who tend to suffer from an overdeveloped sense of privilege. If I were to favor aborting one sex over the other, which I don't, I probably would not make same decision as the typical Chinese parent.

jimbino said...

OP: ...laws and regulations enacted since 2001 have forbidden hospitals from carrying out the procedure.

In proper English, one says, "...laws and regulations enacted since 2001 have forbidden hospitals to carry out the procedure."

cf. KJV Bible: Matt.19
[14] But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Luke.6
[29] And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.

Acts.16
[6] Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia.

1Cor.14
[39] Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

Crazy Jane said...

A friend teaches in a graduate program that enrolls many Chinese and South Asian students. Among the Chinese there are a fair number of young women, which I take to mean that one-child families invested their hopes in that child, whatever sex. No female Indian students so far.

Dennis P. said...

I wonder if 100 million sexually frustrated men between 20 and 35 isn't actually the goal. Since time immemorial, the chance at capturing a bride or at the very least raping the enemies women has been a motivator for barbarian armies.

Cannon fodder at the least.

wildswan said...

It's important to give women (and men) the information they need to make decisions. For instance, if you don't have children, the welfare state will collapse. The reason Angela Merkel tried to import millions of migrants is that millions of adults were needed to keep Germany going because in the past millions of Germans had decided not to have children. So many that the welfare state was going to collapse for lack of workers and taxpayers. So - bring in migrants. But the migrant-import plan didn't work - turns out that Germany needs German adults to keep the German welfare state going. Time for Plan B: tell the Germans the demographic facts of life and then leave it to the Germans to decide whether to have children. Plan B is not being implemented. Plan C is in force: repeat "It's all good."

Or - if all the women have only one child, the population will decline suddenly and rapidly and the welfare state will suddenly and rapidly collapse. If those women also frequently choose to abort girls the population decline will also cause even more social chaos than that stemming from the decline. Time for Plan B: tell the East Asians the demographic facts of life and then leave it to the East Asians to decide whether to have children, (for which girls are necessary and always will be.) Plan B is not being implemented. Plan C is in force: repeat "It's all good."

So we are one world culture, declining everywhere. Great, huh? Though the US population is not declining ... but anyway ... everyone and also us - we are all doing Plan C about that also. The facts will cause consequences but no one will know. The facts will never appear on Facebook news feeds. It's all good.

mockturtle said...

I don't think the one-child policy is still in effect in China.

Achilles said...

This article has a planned parenthood ad right next to it at the moment.

I wonder if PP gets a premium on girl baby parts when they sell them.

traditionalguy said...

And the result of Mao control is 100 million 20 something men without the possibility of a wife. And the result of that is a
Mean and hostile Chinese Army.

buwaya said...

"I don't think the one-child policy is still in effect in China."

No, they revoked it in 2015, for a 2-child policy, but their birthrate has not improved sufficiently to match their demographic targets.
Their birthrate has actually fallen since it bumped up in 2016. Long term China is going to have terrible demographic problems, worse than Japan's.

They definitely kept the one-child policy for much too long, and I think much of the Chinese political change recently is a downstream consequence of that disastrous policy.

buwaya said...

" and taking account of my limited experience, "

And so, yes, it is limited.

Chinese boys are definitely treated better in the traditional household, but expectations are higher as well. It is hard to distinguish the fine distinctions among a horde of overachievers, but they are there.

buwaya said...

"And the result of that is a Mean and hostile Chinese Army."

Actually, not so. The military in China these days is professional, volunteer - these are not conscripts, they are long-service regulars - and is considered a good career path. There is considerable competition to get into the military. And those in it are IIRC considered good husband material.

chuck said...

Romulus solved this problem in the eight century BC.

n.n said...

One-child and Selective-child (i.e. Pro-Choice or abortion rites). If anything, the former is less dysfunctional in that the Choice is a reflection of a minority philosophy, and not a social progression (i.e. normalization) in the society at large.

As for transgenderism, including homosexual (i.e. mental gender deviations), bisexual, transvestite, crossover, etc. orientations, while it is an objectively dysfunctional spectrum, the issue for society is whether it is a progressive condition, and, whether it is normalized (e.g. indoctrination) and targets vulnerable populations (e.g. prepubescent and adolescent children). That said, not all conditions on the transgender spectrum are equally dysfunctional. What are the consequences of liberal and progressive sects advocacy for political congruence ("=") that selectively excludes politically unfavorable, unprofitable social constructs?

Anyway, whether it is one-child or selective-child (and recycled-child), there is a clear and progressive debasement that civilized societies cannot tolerate, let alone normalize. What are the consequences of denying evolution of life from conception? Does the diversity doctrine (e.g. racism, sexism) of progressive and liberal sects that denies individual dignity cause short-term or long-term collateral damage? When and by whose choice does a human life acquire and retain the right to life?

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

buwaya said...
expectations are higher as well


Expectations and outcomes are two very different things.

Achilles said...

traditionalguy said...

And the result of Mao control is 100 million 20 something men without the possibility of a wife. And the result of that is a
Mean and hostile Chinese Army.


Men in the chinese army are more popular in Chinese culture than men in the US army.

The left controls US popular culture and they hate us.


Birkel said...

Wait!?!

How can we know the gender of those Chinese children without waiting for them to turn 14 and tell us what they are?

Jeff Hall said...

> Although this cultural preference for boys harms society as a whole, couples who opt for illegal sex
> screening never seem to remember that many of their hoped-for baby boys will one day struggle to
> find romantic partners, thanks to their parents’ contribution to the country’s skewed sex ratio.

If It were really true that the skewed sex ratio that a Chinese man encountered were caused by his own parents, then the stable strategy for the parents might be different. But in fact, the skewed sex ratio is being caused by millions of parents aborting female children. All of the parents who value sone in China are playing a mulitiplayer "Prisoners' Dilemma" game with each other. They are behaving just as game theory would predict that they will behave.