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China Face-To-Face With Dramatic Gender Imbalance

BEIJING — One of the overlooked problems brought by China's infamous family planning policy is a crticial gender imbalance. With the latest release of the country's demographic data, Beijing has openly acknowledged the situation, as China's National Health and Family Planning Commission declared that is the country "with the most serious gender imbalance at birth in the world."

China's National Bureau of Statistics reported this week that the country has a sex ratio at birth of 115.88, meaning there are 33.76 million more males than females.

Since adopting the "One-Child policy" in 1979, China's gender-ratio disparity has spiked upward, Caixin reports. According to its latest population census data, in 1982 China's gender ratio was already over 107 at the upper limit of the United Nations natural baseline ranging between 102 to 107.

Reaching a peak of 121.2 between 2004 and 2009, China's sex disparity has since declined slightly. However the ratio is still dramatically high compared with other countries, and of course involves the world's biggest population of 1.36 billion.

The patriarchal nature of Chinese society, especially strong in the rural areas where physical labor is more imporant, has led to the country's abnormal gender imbalance, as some famiies opt for an abortion if they find out the fetus is female.

According to World Bank data, as of 2012, as many as 1.25 million girls, who should have been born, instead just "disappeared" meaning that every minute 2.4 female embryos were aborted in China. Sometimes, baby girls are also abandoned to die by their parents, Caixinreports.

To reduce this gender discrimination, Chinese authorities are now making moves to curb the blood tests aimed at identifying if the fetus is a boy or a girl. Earlier this week, a notification was issued jointly by 14 government ministries and departments with the aim of combating the illegal chain of organizations and individuals that assist couples in identifiying the fetus gender and carrying out abortions.