China cracks down on fetus sex diagnosis

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The Chinese government has pledged to crack down on abortions and fetus-sex-diagnosis for non-medical needs, as part of an effort to balance the sex ratio of newborn babies.

  The illustration shows that many couples believe sons are better than daughters. [Photo:]

The illustration shows that many couples believe sons are better than daughters. [Photo:]

Since the launch of the one-child policy in the early 1980s, China's sex ratio of new babies has surged in favour of male children, reaching a record of over 121 in 2004. The natural ratio should range from 103 to 107, which means for every 100 baby girls born, there should be 103 to 107 newborn baby boys.

Through the ban on fetus sex diagnosis, the ratio was reduced to around 113 in recent years, still much higher than the normal range.

The main reason lies in the thousand-year-long concept that sons are better than daughters since daughters marry into other families.

But the ban on fetus sex diagnosis hasn't stopped those who have been determined to make sure their new arrival is a boy. A CCTV report said a secret illegal fetus sex diagnosis chain has taken shape, and it directly led to a large number of pregnant women seeking abortions for non-medical needs.

Li Shipeng, deputy head of the health and family planning bureau in Yongjia county, Zhejiang province, said they found that many pregnant women aborted their fetuses even if the birth control policy had not been violated.

The report revealed those women received blood test reports from medical companies, saying no Y chromosome had been detected in their blood samples, meaning their fetuses were very likely female.

Many of the companies performing the tests are based in Hong Kong. But as most rural couples can't afford the expense of traveling to that southern Chinese city, a chain of intermediaries has formed illegally.

Even if the pregnant women can't have blood drawn locally, the agencies can send staff to meet the women to draw their blood.

But the CCTV report said it found that the staff who drew the blood of pregnant women in Leqing county had no medical qualification at all, and the sanitation conditions of the tools used were unknown.

Xie Yongping, an officer at Yongjia public security bureau, said that the illegal fetus sex diagnosis chain had covered around 50,000 pregnant women in more than 20 provinces. Nearly 100 people served in the chain.

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