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100 Million "

Von: Michael Ejercito (mejercit@hotmail.com) [Profil]
Datum: 16.03.2010 15:37
Message-ID: <2624d67e-f621-4869-9311-4cd424423286@l12g2000prg.googlegroups.com>
Newsgroup: talk.politics.misc alt.current-events alt.politics
100 million 'missing' girls

by Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
March 14, 2010


IN INDIA each year, it is estimated, as many as a million baby girls
are aborted by parents determined not to raise a daughter. Those
unborn girls are the victims of a fierce cultural preference for boys
-- and of modern imaging technology that makes it easy to learn the
sex of a baby in the womb. Ultrasound scans started becoming widely
available in India in the 1980s; since then, an estimated 10 million
female babies have been destroyed during pregnancy.

Sex-selection tests are illegal in India. So are sex-selective
abortions. But the laws are rarely enforced and easily circumvented.
Rather than openly disclose the sex of a fetus after an ultrasound
exam, for example, some Indian doctors signal the results by giving
the parents pink or blue candies or candles. Others dispense with
subtlety altogether, advertising their services with such brazen
slogans as "Spend 500 rupees now and save 50,000 rupees later" -- an
allusion to the potentially crippling dowry that an Indian bride's
parents are expected to pay when their daughter gets married. Many
couples have taken that deal. The result is an alarming shortage of
young Indian women -- and a growing population of young Indian men
with little prospect of finding a wife.

It isn't only in India that unborn girls are being killed on such a
mass scale.

Last week, in a chilling cover story titled "The worldwide war on baby
girls," The Economist noted that in many parts of China, the ratio of
boys to girls is now 124-to-100. "These rates are biologically
impossible without human intervention," the magazine observed, and
their consequences will be dire. The Chinese Academy of Social
Sciences recently warned that within 10 years, 24 million Chinese men
will find themselves condemned to permanent bachelorhood. Among
Chinese 19 and younger, the prospects are even worse: By 2020, there
will be 30 million to 40 million more males in this age group than
females. That is a staggering number of what the Chinese call
guanggun, or "bare branches" -- young males with little prospect of
marriage and a stable family life.

"In any country," says The Economist, "rootless young males spell
trouble; in Asian societies, where marriage and children are the
recognized routes into society, single men are almost like outlaws.
Crime rates, bride trafficking, sexual violence, even female suicide
rates are all rising and will rise further as the lopsided generations
reach their maturity."

The war against baby girls has spread to South Korea, Singapore, and
Taiwan, to the former Soviet republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and
Georgia, and even to Asian-American communities in the United States.
In 1990, the Indian economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen estimated
that more than 100 million women were "missing" worldwide, the result
of "terrible . . . inequality and neglect" of girls and women in much
of Asia and Africa. Twenty years later, the toll is far higher. And if
you think that the antidote to this "gendercide" is modernization,
better living standards, and more education, think again.

"It is not the country's poorest but its richest who are eliminating
baby girls at the highest rate, regardless of religion or caste," the
Times of London reported in 2007. "Delhi's leafiest suburbs have among
the lowest ratio of girls to boys in India, while the two states with
the absolute lowest ratio are those with the highest per-capita
income: Punjab and Haryana." Similarly in China, the higher a
province's literacy rate or income per head, the more skewed its
sexual disparities.

It is not material poverty that leads these cultures to blithely
accept the killing of their very youngest girls. It is a poverty of
values, an ancient prejudice that views daughters as a financial
burden to be avoided, rather than a blessing to be cherished.

In Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother, the Chinese author Xinran
Xue writes about visiting a peasant family in Shandong while the
mother is giving birth. The baby turns out to be a girl, and Xinran
hears "a man's gruff voice [say] accusingly: 'Useless thing!'" To her
horror, the "useless thing" is thrown into a pail of slops to be
drowned. When Xinran protests -- "But that's murder!" -- an older
woman tells her: "Doing a baby girl is not a big thing around here."

"That's a living child," I said in a shaking voice, pointing at
the slops pail.

"It's not a child," she corrected me. "It's a girl baby, and we
can't keep it. Around these parts, you can't get by without a son.
Girl babies don't count."

On its cover, The Economist asks: "What happened to 100 million baby
girls?" The answer is simple -- and sickening: They didn't count.

(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe.)

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