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Changing Mindsets: How China's Abnormal Sex Ratio Is Turning Its Government into a Champion of Gender Equality

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2015

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A combination of factors has led to an increasing imbalance in the sex ratio of China's population. China's sex ratio at birth is 119 boys per 100 girls, far above the global norm of 106. This paper will focus on the abnormal sex ratio as a consequence of traditional Chinese gender attitudes holding women inferior and subordinate to men, which have been brought to the fore by a combination of fertility decline and technological advancement. Accordingly, any solution to the demographic problem must address these prevalent, entrenched mind-sets. The government appears to realise that existing laws prohibiting sex-selective abortion and infanticide will fail to correct the sex ratio. This paper examines the trend in government responses towards efforts to address traditional gender attitudes and argues that the demographic crisis may have turned the Chinese government into an unlikely champion of gender equality.

Research Article
Copyright © Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore 2008

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1 Nie, Yilin & Wyman, Robert J., “The One-child Policy in Shanghai: Acceptance and Internalization” (2005) 31 Population and Development Review 313 at 314 [Nie]CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2 Population and Family Planning Law of the People’s Republic of China of 2002, online: [Family Planning Law]. Previously, the population policy was implemented by Communist Party of China directives and protocol. For a fascinating perspective on the concepts of population quantity and quality in China, see Anagnost, Ann S., “A Surfeit of Bodies: Population and the Rationality of the State in post-Mao China” in Ginsburg, Faye D. & Rapp, Rayna, eds., Conceiving the New World Order: The Global Politics of Reproduction (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995) at 22 Google Scholar.

3 The baby boy was born in early January 2005. Yardley, JimNow, China Puts More Value on GirlsInternational Herald Tribune (1 February 2005)Google Scholar.

4 Ibid.

5 Chief among these consequences are an ageing population, an abnormal sex ratio at birth, and the unique social and cultural problems of a generation of only-children. See generally Peng, Xizhe & Guo, Zhigang, eds., The Changing Population of China, (USA: Blackwell, 2000)Google ScholarPubMed.

6 Peng, Xizhe, “Is it Time to Change China’s Population Policy?” (2004) 2 China: An International Journal 135 at 144 [Peng]Google Scholar.

7 “China Focus: Family Planning Policy – a Controversial Topic in China” Xinhua News Agency (29 December 2005).

8 “China says it has a population of 1.3 billion, and the government wants to make sure it is below 1.4 billion in 2010. Beijing leaders think any changes that would compromise this goal might threaten economic growth and stability.” “Researchers Urge China to Relax Its One-Child Family Planning Policy” Voice of America News (26 September 2005).

9 “Jail for Those who Help Sex Selection” China Daily (26 December 2005).

10 In 1982 the sex ratio was 107.5 boys for every 100 girls. Kristof, Nicholas D.The Chosen Sex – A special report; Chinese Turn to Ultrasound, Scorning Baby Girls for BoysThe New York Times (21 July 1993) [Kristof]Google Scholar. In 1985 the sex ratio was 108. “Researchers Say China's Sex Ratio at Birth is Normal” BBC summary of world broadcasts (9 November 1985).

11 Murphy, Rachel, “Fertility and Distorted Sex Ratios in a Rural Chinese County: Culture State, and Policy” (2003) 29 Population and Development Review 595 at 602 [Murphy]CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

12 Peng, supra note 6 at 141. It has been argued that the sex ratio is inaccurate because many parents merely choose not to report their daughters rather than killing them, resulting in “missing girls” who actually exist but do not turn up on national censuses and records. Peng refutes this argument by comparing the sex ratios at birth and for children of different age groups. He argues that if girl babies merely went unregistered, they would turn up in censuses for older age groups. However, the sex ratio does not change across age groups for children.

13 China, State Statistical Bureau, “Tabulation on the 1990 Population Census of the People’s Republic of China” (China: State Statistics Press, 1993) at 530-535, cited in Junhong, Chu, “Prenatal Sex Determination and Sex-Selective Abortion in Rural Central China; Statistical Data Included” (2001) 27 Population and Development Review 259 at 262 [Chu]CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

14 Kammerer, PeterToo Many Boys Means TroubleSouth China Morning Post (8 August 2004) [Kammerer]Google Scholar.

15 Ma, JosephineCountering Skewed Sex Ratio a Priority, Warns OfficialSouth China Morning Post (13 July 2004) [Ma]Google Scholar.

16 Nie, supra note 1 at 329.

17 “Gender Disparity Needs Work” China Daily (19 March 2004). By 2020, there may be 30 to 40 million bachelors.

18 Hansel, Mary, “China’s One-child Policy’s Effects on Women and the Paradox of Persecution and Trafficking” (2002) 11 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women’s Stud. 369 at 383 [Hansel]Google Scholar.

19 Glenn, DavidA Dangerous Surplus of Sons?The Chronicle of Higher Education (30 April 2004)Google Scholar quoting Valerie M. Hudson [Glenn].

20 Hansel, supra note 18 at 384.

21 Ibid.

22 Peng, Xizhe, “Population Policy and Program in China: Challenge and Prospective” (2000) 35 Tex. Int’l L.J. 51 at 61 Google Scholar. Similarly, Xiaoxian Gao argues that “rural modernization… [has created], to a varying extent, new problems for women” due in part to their low levels of education. Xiaoxian Gao, “China’s Modernization and Changes in the Social Status of Rural Women” trans. by Campbell, S. Katherine in Gilmartin, Christina K et al, eds., Engendering China (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994) 80 at 95 [Gao]Google Scholar.

23 Hansel, supra note 18 at 384. See also Carl Cannon, M., “Too Spoiled, Too MaleThe National Journal (6 August 2005) [Cannon]Google Scholar.

24 Hansel, ibid.

25 Poston, Dudley L. Jr. & Morrison, Peter A., “China: Bachelor BombInternational Herald Tribune (15 September 2005) [Poston Jr.]Google Scholar.

26 Hudson, Valerie M. & den Boer, Andrea M., Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004)Google Scholar. “Bare branches” (光棍) is the Chinese term referring to poor young men with no prospect of finding wives and starting families. Harkin, JamesBig Idea: A Bias Towards Boys is Unbalancing AsiaThe Guardian (London) (14 January 2006) [Harkin]Google Scholar. See also Poston Jr., supra note 25.

27 Harkin, ibid.

28 Hudson and den Boer argue that in the 1850s and 1860s, when there were 129 men for every 100 women in the Huaipei region of northern China, bands of young men unable to find women to marry staged a rebellion during a famine. Kammerer, supra note 14.

29 Poston Jr., supra note 25.

30 Ibid.

31 Glenn, supra note 19. See also Sen, Amartya, “Missing Women” (1992) 304 British Medical Journal 586 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed.

32 The sex ratio increased from 108.5 in 1981 to 111.9 in the first six months of 1990. See Chu, supra note 13.

33 See generally Gupta, Monica Das et al, “Why is Son Preference So Persistent in East and South Asia? A Cross-country Study of China, India and the Republic of Korea” (2005) 40 Journal of Development Studies 153 [Das Gupta]CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Gu, Baochang and Roy, Krishna, “Sex Ration at Birth in China, with Reference to Other Areas in East Asia: What We Know” (1995) 10(3) Asia-Pacific Population Journal 17 [Gu]Google Scholar.

34 Ibid.

35 See Nie, supra note 1.

36 “For all their other striking differences, Northern India, China, and South Korea have strong commonalties in their kinship system, which is rigidly patrilineal…. Patrilineality includes passing on the main productive assets through the male line, while women may be given some movable goods in the form of dowry or inheritance….Patrilocality involves a couple residing at the man’s home, which goes hand in hand with inheritance – especially in peasant societies where land is the main productive asset that is inherited.” Das Gupta, supra note 33 at 160.

37 Murphy, supra note 11.

38 Banister, Judith, “Shortage of Girls in China Today” (2004) 21 Journal of Population Research 19 at 22 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

39 Das Gupta, supra note 33.

40 Chu, supra note 13.

41 Das Gupta, supra note 33.

42 Gao, supra note 22 at 95.

43 To this end also, paragraph 20 of the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress about Amending the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Women (2005) amends the Law to add Article 33 which provides: No organization or individual may trespass upon a woman’s rights and interests in the rural collective economic organization on the ground that she hasn’t got married, is married, is divorced or has lost her spouse.

If the husband settles in the domicile of the wife because of marriage, the husband and the children of the couple shall enjoy the same rights and interests as the members of the local rural collective economic organization do.

44 Gao, supra note 22 at 95.

45 Ibid. 46 Das Gupta, supra note 33.

47 Ibid.

48 Ibid.

49 Gu, supra note 33 at 23.

50 “[U]rban parents and their daughters can give each other much more financial, emotional and physical support. Sons-in-law also interact with them and can sometimes be called upon for assistance. Moreover, sons' employment may take them to a city other than that of their parents.” Das Gupta, supra note 33 at 177.

51 Judith Banister, “Son Preference in Asia – Report of a Symposium,” (1994) online: U.S. Census Bureau <>. See Observation 6 [Banister].

52 Murphy, supra note 11 at 595.

53 Ibid. at 599.

54 Ibid.

55 Chu, supra note 13.

56 See text accompanying note 50, above.

57 Peng, supra note 6.

58 Nie, supra note 1.

59 Das Gupta, supra note 33.

60 Ibid.

61 The eldest son has the most familial and ancestral responsibilities. Ibid.

62 Ibid.

63 Ibid.; Gu, supra note 33 at 23.

64 Chu, supra note 13.

65 Gu, supra note 33 at 21.

66 Chu, supra note 13.

67 “In [Chu’s] survey many women responded they no longer believe ‘more children, more happiness,’ primarily because of financial constraints. The rapid increase of school fees and living costs limits the number of children families can support… ‘One son is fine, two sons are acceptable, but three sons will eat their parents.’” Chu, supra note 13.

68 For example, Siri Tellier, the UN Population Fund’s representative in Beijing, argues that the one-child policy is not entirely to blame, since imbalanced sex ratios “happen in many countries where there is no population policy at all.” Ma, supra note 15.

69 Gu, supra note 33 at 18-19.

70 Peng, supra note 22.

71 Li, Xiaorong, “Licence to Coerce: Violence against Women, State Responsibility, and Legal Failures in China’s Family Planning Programme” (1996) 8 Yale J.L. & Feminism 145 at 147 Google Scholar. Li examines the denial of government responsibility for coercive measures against women and female infanticide and abandonment.

72 Nie, supra note 1.

73 Chu, supra note 13.

74 Ibid. 75 Guanghui Li, “Effects of the One-Child policy on the Number and Sex Composition of Children in China” University of Washington, The Center for Research on Families working paper (April 2002), online: <> [Li] concludes that “analysis on community level sex ratios shows that the One-Child policy is highly correlated with skewed sex ratios. Families with son preference correspond to a limited family size by manipulating the sex composition of their children.”

76 Das Gupta, supra note 33.

77 Banister, supra note 51.

78 Ibid.

79 Chu, supra note 13.

80 Kristof, supra note 10. According to this article, “one Chinese demographer estimates that 100,000 ultrasound scanners were in place around the country by 1990.”

81 Chu, supra note 13.

82 Ibid. 83 Banister, supra note 38.

84 See e.g. Miranda Hitti, “Amniocentesis risk overrated?” WebMD (1 November 2006), online: <>.

85 According to Chu, supra note 13, citing Qiu, the Chinese “do not consider the fetus to be a living person; they believe instead that a person’s life begins with a live birth.”

86 Banister, supra note 38.

87 Ibid. Banister argues that sex-selective abortion is additional to, not substitutive of, infanticide, abandonment and neglect.

88 Chu, supra note 13.

89 Deane, DanielaThe Little Emperors; a Generation of Spoiled Brats, a Tidal Wave of Abortions and Thousands of Missing Girls – These are Some of the Unintended Consequences of China’s Revolutionary One-Child PolicyLos Angeles Times (26 July 1992)Google Scholar.

90 Ibid., quoting Scruggs of the UN Population Fund who says neglect is a more common cause of early female mortality.

91 Chu, supra note 13, reports that in 1986, coastal and central provinces had the highest sex ratios at birth; in 1989, more inland provinces began reporting higher than normal sex ratios at birth.

92 Ibid., Chu cites the increase from 111.3 in 1989 to 116.6 in 1995.

93 Ibid.

94 Banister, supra note 38.

95 Marion Baillot “U.S., Groups hit China’s “One-Child” Policy” The Washington Times (24 December 2004), online: The Washington Times <>.

96 “During an unauthorized pregnancy, often a woman is visited by family planning agents and pressured to terminate the pregnancy. There were credible reports that several women were forced to undergo abortions of unauthorized pregnancies in Fujian.” US Department of State, China Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1996, February 1997, online: <>.

97 Ma, supra note 15, quoting Xie Zhenming, “it is not just about men not being able to find wives. It is about 30 million women losing their rights to live.”

98 Chu, supra note 13, gives an eye-opening account of women’s perceptions of abortion: 92 percent of the women interviewed said it was not right to abort female fetuses, and only 18 percent of those acknowledging they had had sex-selective abortions said the practice itself was right, while 19 percent said it was fair to girls. However, the belief that sex-selective abortions represents unfair treatment of girls often did not withstand peer pressure, pressure from husbands or mothers-in-law, and the women’s own desperation for a son. The 820 women surveyed reported 301 induced abortions, 109 of which were acknowledged to be sex-selective.

99 Banister, supra note 38, calls ultrasound technology a “valuable diagnostic tool in health care.”

100 See text accompanying note 97, above.

101 Cannon, supra note 23.

102 Ibid.

103 Despite the Chinese Communist Party’s supposed commitment to gender equality (discussed briefly in Nie, supra note 1), as well as pronouncements such as Mao Zedong’s “Women hold up half the sky,” it is evident that the sexes are far from equal. The Care for Girls campaign is very much rooted in the implementation of population policy; its website is accessible from the National Population and Family Planning Commission’s site, online at <>. The government’s appears to be aimed at correcting the sex ratio rather than advocating gender equality as a general social ideal.

104 关爱女孩行动 Guan Ai Nǚhai Xingdong (Care for Girls campaign), online: <> [关爱女孩行动].

105 Chu, supra note 13.

106 Ibid.

107 Ibid.

108 Ibid.

109 Regulation On Prohibiting Foetal Sex Identification and Selective Termination of Pregnancy for Non-medical Reasons, adopted at the Fifth Session of the Ninth Standing Committee of Shandong Provincial People's Congress on 21 November 1998, online: <>. [Shandong Regulation].

110 See Chu, supra note 12 at 278. These include Liaoning Province’s “Regulation on Forbidding Prenatal Sex Selection” 27 May 1999; Hainan Province’s ban on prenatal sex determination 28 May 2000; Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region’s “Regulation on Forbidding Prenatal Sex Determination and Sex Selective Abortion” 1 October 2000; and a similar regulation passed in Anhui Province on 1 November 2000. Most recently, Henan province in central China “will institute a law to strictly supervise and control prenatal sex determination and sex-selective abortion.” This law will prohibit “prenatal sex determination or termination of pregnancy without approval of sanitary administrative authorities or population and family planning commissions.” Xiaojuan, Zhu, “Henan to Legislate Against Prenatal Sex DeterminationChina News (7 April 2006), online: <>Google Scholar.

111 See Shandong Regulation, supra note 109 at Articles 3-5.

112 Family Planning Law, supra note 2.

113 Article 36 provides that:

One who has committed any of the following acts in violation of this Law shall be ordered to make corrections or be given a warning by the administrative department of family planning or the administrative department of health, and the illegal gains shall be confiscated; where the illegal gains are not less than 10,000 yuan, a fine of not less than 2 times but not more than 6 times of the illegal gains shall be imposed; where there is no illegal gains or the illegal gains are less than 10,000 yuan, a fine of not less than 10,000 yuan but not more than 30,000 yuan shall be imposed; where the circumstances are serious, the original certificate-issuing organ shall revoke the practice certificate; where a crime is committed, the criminal acts shall be investigated according to law:

1) Illegally performing family planning operations for others;

2) Identifying the gender of a fetus or aborting the pregnancy based on gender by using ultrasound technology or other technologies for those without medical needs;

3) Performing false operations of birth control, using false medical identification or providing false family planning certificates.

114 Under Article 21(4) of the Marriage Law of 1981, “It shall be forbidden to drown or desert infants or commit any other act of killing infants.”

115 Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights and Interests (1992), Article 38 provides that “Women's right of life and health shall be inviolable. Drowning, abandoning or cruel infanticide in any manner of female babies shall be prohibited”.

116 Hansel, supra note 18 at note 86, referring to Gendercide Watch, Case Study: Female Infanticide, March 14, 2001, online: Gendercide Watch <>. Gendercide Watch reports that “In September 1997, the World Health Organization's Regional Committee for the Western Pacific issued a report claiming that ‘more than 50 million women were estimated to be ‘missing’ in China because of the institutionalized killing and neglect of girls due to Beijing's population control program that limits parents to one child.’”

117 Peng, supra note 6.

118 For example, the Women’s Rights Protection Law was amended in 2005, a few years after the enactment of provincial regulations. The proposed amendment to the Criminal Law was also considered only in 2005. The entire Family Planning Law came into effect only in 2002, four years after the Shandong Regulation was adopted.

119 禁止胎儿性别鉴定或选择性别的人工终止妊娠行为, 新华网, 2005 年 6 月 27 日, (“Prohibition on pre-natal sex determination and induced termination of pregnancy” Xinhua News Agency 27 June 2005), online: <>.

120 Ibid.

121 Ibid.

122 Ibid.

123 Decision of the Standing Committee, supra note 43.

124 Ibid. Paragraph 21 of the Decision comes closest to addressing the abnormal sex ratio:

Article 35 shall be changed into Article 38 and shall be amended as: “Women's right of life and health shall be inviolable. Drowning, abandoning or cruel infanticide in any manner of female babies shall be prohibited;” see Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights and Interests, supra note 115.

125 “Jail for Those who Help Sex Selection” China Daily (26 December 2005).

126 分组审议刑法修正案(六)草案时有委员提出刑事制裁鉴定胎儿性别有效性堪虞, 法制日报 2005 年12 月26 日, (“Committee members concerned about efficacy of proposed amendment to Criminal Law” Fazhi Ribao (Legal News Daily) 26 December 2005) online: <>

[Legal News Daily].

127 Ibid.

128 Ibid. Article 35 of the Family Planning Law does sanction sex determination per se.

129 Ibid.

130 Kammerer, supra note 14, quoting Ms Zhao, “Illegal sex determination and sex-selective abortion must be strictly banned.” In 2004 the National Family Planning Commission’s state population and development research centre also called for increased disciplinary action against medical practitioners who perform sex-selective abortions, perceiving it to be more effective to regulate the medical industry than to penalize pregnant women who want to choose the sex of their children. Ma, supra note 15.

131 “Post-ban sex ratios show no change.” “Ultrasound Effects” The Economist (5 August 1995).

132 国家人口计生委宣教司 (Guojia Renkou Jisheng Weixuanjiaosi).

133 “‘Care for Girls’ Gaining Momentum” China Daily (8 July 2004) [China Daily].

134 关爱女孩行动, supra note 104.

135 “Reward Policy Targeting Population Control Welcomed by Chinese Farmers” Xinhua General News Service (4 June 2005).

136 Ibid.

137 Ibid.

138 Yardley, JimFearing Future, China Starts to Give Girls their DueThe New York Times (31 January 2005) [Yardley]Google Scholar.

139 Ibid.

140 Ibid.

141 2006 年全国婚育新风进万家活动. 河南:女孩家庭放宽心 政府发给奖励金——博爱县金 城乡“雨露计生”系列工程润泽计生女孩家庭,2006 年4 月11 日 (“2006 National ‘a new wind on marriage and family planning blows into ten thousand homes’ campaign. Henan: daughtersonly households receive government awards; families in Bo Ai province, Jincheng village encouraged to bring up daughters.” 11 April 2006) online: <>.

142 Ibid.

143 Yardley, supra note 138.

144 Ibid.

145 Ibid.

146 The Care for Girls campaign website, supra note 134.

147 The National Population and Family Planning Commission website, online: <>.

148 “女儿也是传后人” (Nǚer yeshi chuanhouren). See article on Jincheng village, supra note 141.

149 Respectively, “实现男女平等,推动社会文明进步” (Shixian nan nǚ pingdeng, tuidong shehui wenming jinbu)、“生男生女顺其自然” (Shengnan shengnǚ shunqi ziran)、“女儿也能成 才” (Nǚer yeneng chengcai)、“关爱今天的女孩,就是关注民族的未来” (Guan ai jintian de nǚhai, jiushi guanzhu minzu de weilai). 河南:漯河市郾城区关爱女孩行动在流动人口中展开 2006 年4 月13 日 (“Henan: Care for Girls campaign ongoing among mobile population in Leihe city Yancheng district” 13 April 2006), online: <>.

150 天津:蓟县在农村独女家庭开展创建“致富、育才双标兵”活动 2006 年4 月14 日 (“Tianjin: Wealth and education promotion movement for single-daughter families in Ji county” (14 April 2006), online: <>.

151 Ibid.

152 Ibid. This is translated from the phrase in the article: 积极倡导和落实男女平等、生男生女一 样好、生男生女顺其自然等科学文明进步的新型生育观念 (Jiji changdao he luoshi nannǚ pingdeng, shengnan shengnǚ yiyanghao, shengnan shengnǚ shunqi ziran deng kexue wenming jinbu de xinxing shengyu guannian).

153 China Daily, supra note 133.

154 Ibid.

155 Ibid.

156 Chu, supra note 13.

157 See text accompanying note 169, below.

158 Chu, supra note 13.

159 The Economist’s statistics support this. See infra note 179.

160 Chu, supra note 13.

161 Murphy, supra note 11.

162 Chu, supra note 13.

163 See Part III, above.

164 See Legal News Daily, supra note 126 and accompanying text on Xing’s opposition to the proposed amendment.

165 Ma, supra note 15.

166 French, Howard W.Chinese Crack Down on Illegal Abortions; Local Laws Attempt to Stem Male Surfeit Resulting from Nation’s One-child PolicyInternational Herald Tribune (18 February 2005)Google Scholar.

167 Ibid.

168 Ibid.

169 Ibid.

170 “China Intends to Redress Sex Ratio Imbalance by Amending Criminal Law” People’s Daily Online (12 January 2005), online: <>.

171 Chu, supra note 13.

172 See infra, discussion on theoretical issues.

173 The government’s attempts to curb infanticide have also been undermined by weak enforcement. See text accompanying note 116, above. Infanticide is prohibited under the Marriage Law, as amended in 2001. Paragraph 12 of the Decision on Amending the Marriage Law of 2001 provides that: Article 15 shall be changed into Article 21. Paragraph 4 shall be revised as: “It shall be forbidden to drown or desert infants or commit any other act of killing infants.”

174 山东:宁阳县实施“七关爱、七推进”开展“关爱女孩 关爱母亲套餐行动” 2006 年4 月11 日 (“Shandong: Ningyang county implements ‘Seven Care and Love, Seven Development’ in launching care for girls and mothers set meals campaign” 11 April 11 2006), online: <>.

175 For example, couples perceive the private benefit of having a son to be financial security in their old age. Social benefit is probably negative since the sex ratio at birth is already alarmingly skewed, and the costs to society of the abnormal sex ratio may include increased crime and other social and economic consequences. See supra note 26, discussion on “bare branches” in part II. To illustrate, a couple desperate for a son to carry on the family name and support them in old age is unlikely to refrain from sex-selective abortion just because they are slightly more likely to be victims of crime in 2020.

176 An example is the All-China Women’s Federation. According to a government White Paper on the Situation of Chinese Women, “[m]ore than 5,800 mass women's organizations in China undertake to report women's views and their problems to the authorities and make suggestions on how to solve them.” China Development Gateway, Section VII Organizational Guarantees of the Rights and Interests of Chinese Women, White Paper on the Situation of Chinese Women, online: <>. However, there is no indication at present that women’s rights groups have legal standing to bring actions for violations of the Family Planning Law.

177 Li, supra note 71.

178 Ibid.

179 “The Lost Girls” The Economist (18 September 1993) [The Economist].

180 Hansel, supra note 18 at 388, discussing the Microsort example in Japan.

181 China Daily, supra note 133.

182 Ibid.

183 Murphy, supra note 11.

184 See Part III.B.1 above, discussion and critique of incentives.

185 Watts, JonathanChina Offers Parents Cash Incentives to Produce More Girls: Beijing Forced to Tackle Effects of One-child PolicyThe Guardian (London) (16 July 2004)Google Scholar.

186 See Part III.B.1.i above, discussion on incentives such as the pensions awarded in Mengzhou city, Henan province.

187 See Part III, above, supra notes 153-155.

188 See text accompanying note 97, above.

189 Hansel, supra note 18 at 377.

190 Li, supra note 71.

191 Ibid.

192 Das Gupta, supra note 33.

193 Professor Zhu’s project is an example. See text accompanying note 153, above.

194 Chu, supra note 13.

195 Gao, supra note 22.

196 See text accompanying note 144, above.

197 See supra note 153 and accompanying text.

198 Das Gupta, supra note 33.

199 See supra note 43 and accompanying text.

200 Gao, supra note 22, discusses discrimination against men who settle in their wives’ domicile.

201 Das Gupta, supra note 33.

202 Hansel, supra note 18; Li, supra note 71.

203 See Part IV above, on practical enforcement difficulties and theoretical problems with legal sanctions.

204 Interestingly, however, the Marriage Law was amended in 2001, supra note 173. Paragraph 13 provides: Article 16 shall be changed into Article 22 and shall be revised as: “A child may take the surname of either the father or mother.”

205 Langfitt, FrankUltrasound Noted in China’s Gender Gap; Abortions of Baby Girls Identified During Test Affect Census, Official SaysBaltimore Sun (29 March 2001)Google Scholar.

206 Kammerer, supra note 14.

207 Chu, supra note 13.

208 The Economist, supra note 179.

209 See text accompanying notes 130 and 165, above.

210 Article 48 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China of 1982, online: <> proclaims that

Women in the People’s Republic of China enjoy equal rights with men in all spheres of life, in political, economic, cultural, social and family life.

The state protects the rights and interests of women, applies the principle of equal pay for equal work to men and women alike and trains and selects cadres from among women.

Similarly, Article 3 of the Family Planning Law provides that

The implementation of the population and family planning work shall combine with an increase in opportunities in education and employment for women, and the enhancement of women’s health and the promotion of their social status.

211 See text accompanying notes 95-100, above.

212 It has taken more than a decade for the government to heed then-premier Zhao’s warnings in 1982. See text accompanying notes 101-102, above.

213 Peng, supra note 6.

214 Li, supra note 71, observes that Chinese Communist Party directives are “equivalent or superior to legislation and codified laws… [and] can change existing laws or supersede them, determining whether a particular law is to be enforced.”

215 An example is Pan Guiyu, deputy director of the National Family Planning Commission, quoted as asserting that eradicating gender discrimination begins at birth at the 2004 Care for Girls dialog session. 男女不平等在出生问题上的反映应引起全社会重视, 人民网北京 2004 年2 月 5 日 (“Gender inequality manifested in birth problems attracts society’s attention” 5 February 2004), online: <>.

216 See Part III, above, discussion on sanctions and the decisions not to amend the Criminal Law and the Women’s Rights Protection Law to prohibit sex determination and sex-selective abortion.

217 Das Gupta, supra note 33.

218 See text accompanying notes 198-200, above.