40-Million ‘Surplus’ Males in China by 2020

Daily News Article   —   Posted on October 14, 2011

(by Erick Hamme, CNSNews.com) – Nine years from now, there may be 40 million more men of marriageable age than there are women in China. That population imbalance, caused by China’s “one-child” policy, has adverse social and security implications, says an annual congressional report on China.

“By 2020, the number of Chinese males of marriageable age may exceed the number of Chinese females of marriageable age by 30 to 40 million,” says the 2011 report from the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, a group headed by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.).

China’s “one-child” policy, implemented in 1979, is directly to blame: “In response to government-imposed birth limits and in keeping with a traditional cultural bias for sons, some Chinese parents choose to engage in sex-selective abortion, especially rural couples whose first child is a girl,” the report says.

China implemented a ban on sex-selective abortions in 2003, but according to Rep. Smith, the practice remains widespread: “The proof of it is the missing girls,” Smith told a Capitol Hill news conference on Wednesday.

The report points to United Nations population statistics showing that in 2010, China’s male-to-female sex-ratio at birth was the highest in the world, at 120 boys for every 100 girls. In August 2011, Chinese state media quoted a Chinese health official as saying that the sex imbalance is increasing.

The report says the consequences of China’s one-child policy are vast and far-reaching. The scarcity of women will increase their “value” as well as their vulnerability, boosting demand for prostitution, for example, as well as an upsurge in the kidnapping and the trafficking of women and girls.

Rep. Smith echoed this concern: “There’s been a huge spike in trafficking—in large measure, because of the dearth of girls. We are going to see an ever increasing trafficking problem, directly related to a government policy of systematically exterminating the girl-child population since 1979.”

The report also links China’s “surplus males” to forced marriages and commercial exploitation.

The population imbalance also has security implications: “Some social and political scientists argue that large numbers of ‘surplus males’ could create social conditions that the Chinese government may choose to address by expanding military enlistments.”

Beyond the skewed male-female ratio, China’s one child policy – with its forced abortions and sterilizations — is taking an emotional toll on women. A congressional statement accompanying the report…said:  “The Nuremberg Nazi war crimes tribunal properly construed forced abortion as a crime against humanity—nothing in human history compares to the magnitude of China’s 31 year assault on women and children.”


1.  What conclusion did the Congressional-Executive Commission on China make in its recently released 2011 report?

2.  What is the Chinese “one-child” policy? (see “Background” below the questions for details)

3.  How has the one-child policy caused the imbalance between men and women in China?

4.  How will the imbalance negatively affect women?

5.  It has been suggested that the Chinese government’s solution to sex-selective abortions, caused by the one-child policy, will not be to end the policy, but to expand military enlistments.  What do you think of this solution?

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The one-child policy …is the population control policy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). … It officially restricts the number of children married urban couples can have to one, although it allows exemptions for several cases, including rural couples, ethnic minorities, and parents without any siblings themselves….

The Chinese government introduced the policy in 1979 to alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems in China, and authorities claim that the policy has prevented more than 250 million births from its implementation to 2000. The policy is controversial both within and outside China because of the manner in which the policy has been implemented, and because of concerns about negative economic and social consequences. The policy has been implicated in an increase in forced abortions and female infanticide, and has been suggested as a possible cause behind China’s gender imbalance….

The policy is enforced at the provincial level through fines that are imposed based on the income of the family and other factors. Population and Family Planning Commissions exist at every level of government to raise awareness about the issue and carry out registration and inspection work [to ensure that every couple only have a child when it is their turn to do so, designated by the committee]. (from wikipedia.org)