East China's Zhejiang Province will strictly forbid prenatal sex selection and the selective abortion of female foetuses to reverse a gender imbalance among newborn babies.
The government will launch educational campaigns to change the traditional view that favors boys, especially in rural areas and enhance the management of ultrasound scanning and severely punish those who assist in this crime.
In Zhejiang Province, 111 boys are born for every 100 girls, according to the latest statistics released by the Zhejiang Provincial Family Planning Commission.
The normal newborn sex ratio is 103-107 boys for every 100 girls.
"It will take all sectors to work towards the goal to ensure the implementation of existing laws and policies that punish perpetrators in sex selection," said Xia Baolong, deputy Party secretary of Zhejiang Province at a meeting held yesterday.
Prenatal sexual predetermination is illegal in China as stipulated in Maternal and Child Health Care Law and the Population and Family Planning Law.
Officials believe the crackdown on illegal private consultations purely for economic gains and other misdeeds involving selective abortion will redress the sex imbalance by 2010.
In addition, a much more imbalanced gender ratio was found in cities in southern Zhejiang, such as Wenzhou and Taizhou, where the sex ratio is about 120 to 100.
The purpose of normal ultrasound scanning examination is to detect foetal abnormalities, and doctors are not allowed to tell parents their baby's gender, according to sources.
Moreover, no individual or medical organization is allowed to offer sex-selective abortion services, Wang said.
However, experts pointed out that it is difficult to control illegal services geared for economic gains.
(China Daily August 13, 2004)