China is cracking down against sex-selection abortion in a bid to mitigate the pronounced gender imbalance created by its coercive one-child policy. Reuters reports:
The new campaign will… concentrate on health centers and family planning institutions, as well as illegal fertility agencies, clinics and itinerant doctors, the report said.The government will also tighten controls on medical equipment and medicine used in both ultrasounds and abortions, and blacklist any organisation found to be complicit in either activity, Xinhua added.
In China there is a traditional bias in favor of sons over daughters. Since the introduction of the one child policy in 1979, the ratio of male to female babies has skewed significantly male. As Reuters explains:
Many families abort female fetuses and abandon baby girls to ensure their one child is a son, with about 116 boys born for every 100 girls last year, against a global average of 103 to 107.
In 2014, in an effort that was partly intended to reduce the smoldering resentment against the restrictions and the forced abortions that often go with them, China partially relaxed the one-child policy, allowing couples to have two children if one of the parents was himself or herself an only child. But the number of additional births as a result of the relaxed policy were only about half of what was expected. As Beijing looks for ways to sustain its rise, it is finding it hard to put the genie of past efforts of social engineering back in the bottle.