Tag: women in china

How a Cosmetics Company is Subverting the Chinese State

How a Cosmetics Company is Subverting the Chinese State

An ad by cosmetics company SK-II recently went viral in China. The ad tackles the topic of “leftover women,” women in China who are not married by age 25. Watch the ad below.

The ad has had millions of views and has sparked debate and discussion around the country. Some people believe the ad is empowering. Some think it is pandering. Personally, I think the ad is daring not only because it empowers women, but because it directly undermines the Chinese government.

The derogatory term “leftover women” (剩女; shèngnǚ;) was coined over a decade ago by the All-China Women’s Association, an organization that was founded in 1949 as the leader of the women’s rights movement but has become little more than a Party mouthpiece to help keep women in their place. The term refers to women over 25 (it was 27, but apparently the age has been lowered in recent years) who are not yet married and thus unlikely to get married. Even though these women are typically not married because they have been furthering their education and careers, they are considered a drain on society because they are not getting married and giving birth to the next generation. Even though China’s explosive rate of leftover men is a much larger problem, shengnan (剩男) are not similarly criticized and the term doesn’t hold the same meaning. Men can get married at any time in their lives and are expected to get married later as they pursue their careers. Since there are at least 20 million more men in China than women, it is unavoidable that many of these men will never marry.

Leftover men are viewed victims who don’t have a choice but to remain single; leftover women are viewed selfish for choosing to remain single.

The Chinese government has been behind this calculated attack on urban, educated women from the beginning. China has been hurtling toward a demographic disaster since the inception of the one-child policy in 1979, but China has only been taking steps to correct this course in recent years. By focusing on “leftover women,” the Chinese government was able to shift the blame the countries lack of employees to women who are getting jobs instead of getting husbands and pivot away from blame on the one-child policy. o-CHINESE-STUDENTS-facebook“Yes, we are in a bad situation, but it wouldn’t be this bad if those women were hunting for husbands as hard as they are hunting for jobs,” the government seems to say. By not taking one of the millions of leftover men into her bed and giving birth to the next generation of Chinese workers, unmarried women in China are not doing their duty for the Chinese State.

The Chinese government has even ramped up its attacks on unmarried women in recent years. Especially since the adoption of the two-child policy, you expect to see more attacks against “leftover women” because these women are actively working against China’s efforts to increase its population.

I’m surprised that the SK-II ad was approved by Chinese censors and it hasn’t been removed. The message that women don’t need to get married or have kids is totally contrary to the message the Chinese government has been sending women for over a decade.

And that is why this ad is so subversive. This ad glorifies the leftover woman. It empowers them. It calms their parents’ fears. It tells women that they can be good Chinese daughters on their own. And that’s pretty awesome.

Shenzhen Man Spends 30 Years Raping Mentally Ill Woman, Hailed as “Responsible”

Shenzhen Man Spends 30 Years Raping Mentally Ill Woman, Hailed as “Responsible”

woman-shadowsOver 30 years ago, a young woman named Adi in her early 20s was in a tragic accident that left her with the mind of an infant. Even though she had the body of an adult, she couldn’t care for herself or even express herself to those around her.

One day, a ‘barefoot’ doctor came to her village. This man had minimal medical training, but because doctors were so rare in the Chinese countryside, the villagers accepted his help. This man claimed he could help heal Adi. Her parents trusted him. Over time, the man began to claim that he was in love with Adi, a woman who could neither accept or reject his advances. Without even a basic understanding of what was happening to her, her parents consented to the wandering doctor’s marriage proposal. The man then began having regular intercourse with Adi, forcing her to have many children.

Adi, unable to communicate, did what she could to end her suffering, throwing herself into a lake near her house. But she was always pulled back, always forced back into the bed of her rapist.

WOMEN-SHADOW-facebookFor 30 years, Adi has been called the wife of her rapist. All the while, this putrid excuse for a human being forces Adi to act against her will. Since Adi cannot protest, some in the community believe that what the doctor is doing is a great thing, taking care of a mentally handicapped woman for over three decades. ““He is truly a responsible man. He took care of his wife for all these 30 years,” says one of the villagers. Yet no one but Adi knows the horrors she faces everyday, the pain she feels deep inside that she cannot express.

While this may sound like a horror story, it is actually true. The story of Adi’s rapist, a man who goes by the surname of Zeng, was recently told in the Shenzhen Daily. Of course, since Adi cannot speak for herself, the story was reported from his point of view. However, Adi’s story comes through clearly. A woman who does not have the mental capability to consent to marriage or sex was forced into both, and her attacker is viewed as a hero for spending his life taking care of her. The truth is that Zeng is a disgusting, abusive monster who needs to be in prison. Even though Adi is finally getting the help she needs for her mental condition, there are no efforts being made to remove her from the home of her rapist.

This is why China needs feminism, so that people can learn what consent means.

Care for comfort women begins at home

Care for comfort women begins at home

The following was originally published in The Shenzhen Daily. It is republished here in full with links to sources added. 

Former comfort woman Wang ZhiFeng
Former comfort woman Wang ZhiFeng

HARDLY a week goes by that the Chinese Government does not criticize the Japanese Government for refusing to acknowledge and apologize for its crimes in China during World War II. Since 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War, the outcry against Japan and calls to remember the Rape of Nanjing have been constant.

One of the most controversial aspects of this issue is that of comfort women, a placid euphemism for the brutal kidnapping and rape of hundreds of thousands of women throughout Asia by Japanese soldiers during the war. Even though as many as 400,000 women suffered as sex slaves during the war, some of Japan’s top officials have gone so far as to deny the women even existed.

The suffering of the comfort women did not end with the war. The terrible facts of life after the war are described in detail in Peipei Qiu’s new book “Chinese Comfort Women.” Many comfort women hid their past as best they could because they were treated so shamefully by Chinese society. Today, only 23 comfort women are officially counted in China, but there could be many more who kept silent about their past after seeing their fellow comfort women persecuted again and again. Many of them then suffered humiliation and indignities at the hands of their own countrymen during the Cultural Revolution. Their property was confiscated, their families punished, and they were publicly “struggled” against as “Japanese collaborators.”

BN-DJ759_comfor_DV_20140624000037Even today, the few known comfort women do not receive any support from the Central Government, though a few receive a paltry sum of 100 yuan a month as part of local social security schemes. A report in China Daily describes the living conditions of the women today as “desperate.” The newspaper quoted Su Zhiliang, director of the Research Center at Shanghai Normal University, as saying, “Most of the former comfort women still alive in China live in desperate conditions — physically, socially, and financially — and they long for attention, recognition, and support from society.”

Caring for comfort women needs to begin at home. According to some statistics, at least 40 percent of former comfort women never married because they were ostracized by society. This leaves them without descendants to care for them today. Most of the women suffered from devastating health consequences — infertility, chronic pain, etc. — that can cost thousands of yuan per month in medical bills. Some of the comfort women are being cared for by NGOs and individuals. The NGOs and individuals are collecting their stories, donating money and providing funerals for those who pass away. Why isn’t the government taking the lead in these efforts?

In South Korea, another country whose women were abused by the Japanese troops, their comfort women are well taken care of. They live in special nursing homes and have all their medical and physical needs cared for by the government. Li Xiaofang is a photographer and historical researcher who has been recording the lives of the surviving comfort women for more than a decade. He told China Daily, “There are more former comfort women here in China than in South Korea, and their experiences were equally miserable… they deserve more attention and support.”

While the Japanese should apologize and pay for their war crimes, the women they brutalized are not Japanese, they are Chinese. It is the responsibility of the Chinese Government to care for these aging testaments to history. Waiting for the Japanese to step in and take responsibility for the comfort women is a waste of time and precious lives. The Chinese Government can act now and take the lead in showing the world how these women should be honored.

China – Not As Safe As You Think

China – Not As Safe As You Think

In the past, when people have asked me “is China safe?” I have answered “yes.” And most people would agree. In fact, if you Google “is China safe?” you will find plenty of forums that tout the safety of China, even for women. Yet I have been seeing more and more incidents of Western women assaulted in China and have experienced it myself. The truth is no country is “safe.” Assault can and does happen everywhere. It might happen more frequently in other countries, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t become a victim of assault. In fact, I believe that China is far more dangerous than people let on. Part of the problem is that not enough women speak out about it.

Chinese Women in China

1307010010Let me clarify that yes, this article is mainly about the experiences of expat women in China and not local Chinese women or expat women of Chinese ethnicity. This is because China is extremely dangerous for Chinese women. China has some of the highest rape and domestic abuse rates in the world. In some studies, as many as 60% of women surveyed admitted to being abused by their partner and in other studies nearly 25% of men admit to raping a woman. Even in public, most people will not stop a man from assaulting a woman because they don’t want to get involved in a “domestic situation.” China doesn’t even have laws to protect women from domestic abuse. However, being a Chinese local and being a tourist or an expat are completely different experiences. Many times, expats are lured into a false sense of safety. And it is this false safety that has me concerned. I believe assault among expat women is much higher than we have been lead to believe.

Expat Women Assaulted by Chinese Men

I’ve actually been wanting to write this post for a long time. Late last year, Jocelyn Eikenburg at Speaking of China wrote about the time she was sexually assaulted by a Beijing private driver and the way she is constantly street harassed. She says,

It happened in Beijing when a driver a friend arranged to send me to the airport ended up touching one of my breasts. He did it just before I was about to leave his car – as if he had wanted to touch me the entire time and held out for the right moment. It was creepy and despicable and the kind of thing I hope will never happen again.

She also says

Years ago, I often told friends how I would walk through Shanghai late into the evenings and never feel worried about getting raped or jumped by anyone.

But now I wonder if I really had it right or not. Was I safe in Shanghai because we lived in the center of the city, where lots of people streamed through the streets day and night? Or was I simply naïve?

Unfortunately, I think she, like me, was simply naïve. A large reason is because, as she also says “I’ve not wanted to share it for a long time – believing, as she did, that somehow it was all my fault.”

When women don’t share their stories, the stories simply pile up. If you read the comments, you will see many, many more stories about assault, harassment, and stalking.

There was a guy who just kept popping up everywhere I was and he seemed to know my schedule. He would always try to chat and get my phone number. One day, I got on the bus and he followed me on it.

 

Things like that have happened to me as well. I once got a massage in Xi’an, I was with friends and it was supposedly a “reputable place.” The masseuse started to finger me and I didn’t know what to do.

 

I lived in China for three years and faced a few similarly bad situations. I’m glad you’ve brought this up, because although I would still consider Shanghai to be a safe place, bad things happen everywhere and I often felt my problems were dismissed because ‘China is a safe place!’

There is an extremely frightening account by Zhou JiaYi on her blog Shandongxifu about her assault by three men in Shenzhen.

There were 3 men. They were middle aged and obviously transients to the city from their country-side, labor-worn appearances.

“She speaks Chinese!” one of the men exclaimed. Now I had really sparked their interest. They got closer and started to critique my appearance more. They told me how I didn’t look American because I wasn’t fat. They said they loved my blond hair. I kept walking assuring myself that I was in public in broad daylight, but I felt awkward.

They started talking about my pale skin. Then as one of men pointed out I was slighted tanned on my chest, he literally used his hand to point it out by brushing his finger above the opening of my button down dress.

I reactively swatted his hand away and looked the man in horror. The men smiled. I was feisty.

I started forward but was detained. The other men had grabbed my arms and my attempts to get away only brought them forward with me. Panic rushed through me. I momentarily looked around at the passersby who watched me with curiosity and pity. I had been in China before and I knew that no one would ever help a stranger; They would simply stop and watch. I had been in Shenzhen long enough to know that the police wouldn’t help, even if I had happened to see one in that very second. I was scared.
I fought against the three men as they started to pull me away out the crowds, move their hands towards forbidden places, and start to tear at buttons on my dress.

You should really read the whole post. She doesn’t say when exactly the incident happened, but it is clear that a considerable amount of time passed between the assault and when she finally worked up the courage to write about it. Once again, she stayed silent while everyone else went along thinking China was totally safe.

My Experiences with Assault and Harassment

me and morotbikeI’ve never been sexually assaulted in China, but I have been assaulted, and I’ve written about it before.

As I started to pull away, the man grabbed me by the arm. At first, I was shocked. How dare he touch me?!? I instinctively tried to pull my arm from his grasp. But he didn’t let go and started talking angrily in Chinese. I revved my bike to help me get more force to pull myself away, but when I did he grabbed my arm with both of his hands letting go of his own bike and started yelling at me. At first, I was just offended, but now I was scared. My Chinese is still very poor so I just started screaming in English “help me! Help me! He is hurting me!” which he was. He had on gloves that were of some strange rough material that was digging into my skin and his grip was very tight to keep me from escaping. 

Thankfully, nothing like this has happened to me since, but I still feel panicky when I think about it.

Most recently, I have been at the forefront of fighting harassment here in Shenzhen. There is a Chinese man who calls himself Nathan but I call The Shenzhen Creeper who has been harassing and stalking expat women in Shenzhen for over a year. He is the reason we had to turn the Shenzhen Writers Circle into Women Writers of Shenzhen. The women in the group simply didn’t feel safe with him in our community. Whenever a new expat woman would join our group (only expat women; he has never stalked a Chinese member of our group), he would get their WeChat (like China’s Facebook and instant messenger) and their email address and continually message them. Most of the messages may seem harmless enough, asking if the women want to get coffee or go to a movie, but several of them have been creepy, asking where the women live, work, or go to the gym. He has sent long love songs to women and asked if they “see themselves” in his love poems. I should also mention that Creeper is married and has a one-year-old daughter.

Most of the women simply tried to ignore him, say they were too busy, and stop attending events. But the messages never stop. Several of the women have told him directly to stop messaging them, but he hasn’t. I confronted him about his behavior, but he denied that he was doing anything wrong and has claimed that he is the victim of gross mischaracterization and persecution by me.

Many people may think a few messages are “no big deal,” but from a woman’s perspective, any unwanted attention can be seen as threatening. And Creeper has reacted with verbal and emotional violence. He has threatened to have me arrested, sued, and has threatened my employer. He has even threatened my guy friends who have stood up for me, telling them that they would also end up in court if they take my side. The women are not unreasonable in their fears that Creeper could escalate things if they were to outright reject him. Even though he was ejected from the writers group, he still finds ways to contact our members occasionally. He has also found other social groups that have large numbers of expat women and has been stalking their members.

Speaking Out

I am not saying that the onus of stopping assaults and harassment in China is on the victims. However, if women don’t speak out about their experiences, many more women could be hurt by this false belief that “China is safe.” There is no shame in speaking out if you have been a victim of abuse. And no longer should people stick their head in the sand and pretend that assault in China doesn’t happen. If you have been assaulted, speak out. If you know that someone is being assaulted or harassed, speak out against it. Everyone must work together to stop abuse.

 

Frog by Mo Yan – Book Review

Frog by Mo Yan – Book Review

Talk about disappointing. Two years ago, when Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for literature for Frog, Westerners and Chinese were shocked and elated. The Chinese were ecstatic that a Chinese writer won the honor at all (he’s the only Chinese writer who lives in China to have ever won the prize) and Westerners were amazed that the book was “about the one-child policy and forced abortions.” Unfortunately for people who can’t read Chinese, that description was a bit of a misnomer. After waiting two years for the official English translation of Frog, I can tell you that there is nothing surprising, shocking, or reactionary in Mo Yan’s Frog. In fact, Frog toes the party line just like every other Chinese writer trapped in China (though I don’t think Mo is actually trapped and rather enjoys his role as an exemplary Party member).

711BOrxouXLMany reviewers claim that the book is about a woman named Gugu, a midwife, obstetrician, and abortionist in China from the 1960s to the present day, but that isn’t actually true. The book is about Tadpole, the book’s male narrator and Gugu’s nephew. Gugu does have a large role in the book, but she is not the protagonist, and large swathes of the book leave her out entirely.

The book opens on the Great Chinese Famine from the late 50s to the early 60s. The narrator and his classmates are so hungry, they eat coal. While this is most likely based on true events, the scene is humorous and contains none of the horrors that people endured during the Great Famine. Everyone who was alive at the beginning of Mo’s book is still alive after the famine, even though as many as 40 million people died during that time, including whole communes. At one point, Tadpole says that he would “have rather starved than eat a frog.” This seems to imply that the famine wasn’t so bad if people could still be picky about what they would and wouldn’t eat to survive. The truth is that some people ate their own children in order to survive the famine. But Mo’s lighthearted approach to one of the most tragic parts of China’s history sets the tone of the novel.

The book finally moves into the family planning stories and recounts the deaths of two women who are trying to have second children, but the narrative is extremely sloppy and paltry. The first family planning policy stated, “one is good, two is just right, three is too many” and forced vasectomies became the norm. Forced vasectomies certainly did happen in frightening numbers, but they are rarely talked about. They also don’t happen today, unlike forced abortions. But then the book jumps 20 years into the future when the one-child policy is in full effect with no explanation or introduction.

None of the women in the book are “forced” to have an abortion. One woman (Tadpole’s first wife) is “coerced” (Gugu begins tearing down the neighbor’s houses and the woman eventually gives in) and the other one gives birth prematurely while trying to escape from Gugu. These are also only two women. The fact that countless women (even today) have been dragged out of their homes and strapped down while their wanted babies are ripped from their bodies is completely left out. While the deaths of the two women who have abortions are sad, and the ramifications are felt throughout the rest of the book, the deaths are just not particularly significant. I’m not sure if that the right word, but if you feel horrified, disgusted, or heartbroken over their deaths, you really are not very well-informed about what women have been enduring in China since the one-child policy came into effect over 30 years ago.

But more frustrating than the way Mo handles the one-child policy and the women’s deaths is how he completely dissolves the Chinese government, the family planning commission, and even Gugu of any responsibility. He says “Westerner’s critiques of China’s family planning policies are unfair;” “I wasn’t blaming [Gugu]…it was just our fate;” “Society didn’t create my problem; I was the problem;” “The men and women who defied the policy against multiple pregnancies could not escape a share of the responsibility for what happened;” and “Family planning has an impact on the national economy and the people’s livelihood, and it is the greatest importance.”

Oh sure, there are some nice feminist statements littered throughout the book, such as “his head was filled with feudal ideas like favouring boys over girls” and “I want them to know how hard it is to be a woman,” but in the end, the book holds up the old status quo. At 55-years of age, Tadpole becomes a father to a son, and even though he has a wonderful daughter living abroad, he says that his son “is a treasure sent down to me from the heavens, and is worth all my suffering.” See, as long as you have a son, it doesn’t matter how many women died or how many kids were aborted or how many filial daughters you have, having a son makes everything all right!

This book is beyond disappointing, it is infuriating. I honestly don’t know why it won the Nobel Prize. The book does nothing to challenge preconceived notions, is not original, and isn’t even honest. There are so many books out there that are so much better. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the selection of Mo Yan as a winner is a downright sexist decision. The book largely deals with women’s issues but is told by a man from a man’s perspective. And while men can write about women’s issues and be allies, why have Chinese female writers who have also talked about these issues with much more candor, honesty, and emotion been snubbed? Authors like Xinran and Lisa See have both written brilliantly and openly about women’s experiences in China because they have the freedom to do so by living overseas.

Mo Yan is nothing more than a communist party mouthpiece, and as long as the Chinese government continues to pursue policies of censorship and artistic strangleholds, this is the best Chinese authors will be able to give the world. Mo Yan’s Frog is an excellent example of why Chinese authors in China shouldn’t and don’t win Nobel Prizes.

Have you read Frog? Let me know what you thought in the comments. 

What’s in a name? Surnames, China, and Feminism

What’s in a name? Surnames, China, and Feminism

last-name-300x253My surname is not my husband’s surname. My surname is not the surname I was born with. My surname I took from my first husband. I kept it after the divorce because by that time the name was mine. I went to university as Amanda Roberts. All of my years of hard work were under that name. All of my scholarship was under that name. All of my professors, professional contacts, and friends knew me by that name. My degrees are in that name. Like Tina Turner, who kept her husband’s surname after her divorce, I embraced the name as mine. It’s mine and who I am.

My surname has never been an issue for me or my husband. In fact, it never really occurred to him that I might take his name. He even forgets that my family has a different surname than me. The only hiccup is when people meet me first and then my husband, they sometimes call him “Mr. Roberts,” but we usually just laugh it off and politely correct them (I don’t think anyone has ever accidentally called me “Mrs. Anderson,” but don’t even get me started on the “Mrs.” thing. I hate that prefix so much.). No one has ever been rude or overly inquisitive about it, but maybe it is just a small learning experience for people about making assumptions. But for some women, whether or not to take a husband’s surname upon marriage is a big freaking deal. Today, Huff Post Women put up an interesting article sharing the experiences of women who didn’t take their husbands’ surnames and the various responses they have gotten. It’s an interesting read. I found number 6 weird, though. As a couple who travels extensively, my husband and I have never had issues with boarder crossings, passports, or visas because of having different surnames. I think she is probably exaggerating the “problems.”

The article really stood out to me, though, because Zoe (my goddaughter) and I had a long talk about surnames just last weekend. The only issue with having two surnames in our family is what name do we give the kids (when they arrive). Anderson? Roberts-Anderson? Something totally new like Zarkov?
babyWe haven’t settled on a solid answer yet, but we still have plenty of time.  In China, surnames are much more fluid than in the West. According to Zoe, Chinese women never take their husband’s name. I don’t know if that is exactly true because I have met a few women who have the same last name as their husbands here. However, there is not as much variety in family names in China as there is in America, so it is possible that those couples just happened to have the same surname before they married. It wasn’t something I ever thought to ask at the time. Anyway, for me and my husband to have different surnames is completely normal in China, which I find refreshing.

When it comes to the children, though, there is a lot of flexibility. Chinese children do not automatically take their father’s name. According to Zoe, children will often take the family name of the half of the family who is higher class or has more money.  With Zoe, for example, she took her father’s name, but several of her cousins have their mothers’ name. Another option is that the children take the family name of whichever side of the family lives closest to them and provides the most care. Since the one-child policy came into effect and since most women in China work outside the home, it is extremely common for one pair of grandparents to live with (or very close) to their adult children to help care for the baby. If the primary grandparents are the mother’s parents, the baby might take their name regardless of social hierarchy.

I think the fluidity of a person’s name is intimately tied with gender and identity. At one time in most Western cultures, a woman was considered the property of men and her name reflected her ownership, be it her father or husband. Chinese culture, too, has always been painfully patriarchal, so a woman kept the name of her father to keep her tied to her birth family. But a woman’s identity shouldn’t depend on her relationships to the men in her world. She should have the right to strike out and forge her own identity. The same is true of men. An increasing number of men in the West are taking their wives’ names, choosing a new identity that reflects them and the family they want to create separate from the name of their fathers. For children, what surname they have at birth shouldn’t be the most pressing concern on a person’s list since they might change it themselves one day anyway.

What do you think? Did you change your name when you married? If not, have you faced problems or gotten flack? Did you have trouble settling on a surname for your kids? I’d love to hear your stories and opinions!

China’s New Two-Child Policy Leading to More Sex-Selective Abortions?

China’s New Two-Child Policy Leading to More Sex-Selective Abortions?

r-BLOOD-TEST-large570This is a disturbing trend. According to several articles in the Shenzhen Daily, sex-selective abortions seem to be on the rise even as China’s new “two-child policy” rolls out across the country.

Last October, the 18th National Congress of China (the CPC) announced that in families where one parent was a single child, the family would be allowed to apply to have a second child. The plan was sketchy, with no clear indication when or how the new policy would be implemented, but more and more cities (including Shenzhen) have since approved the plan and have been accepting and approving applications for second children (I’m ignoring the fact that people having to “apply for permission” to have a second child is still batshit crazy because everyone knows that I am 100% against any state mandated child planning policies anyway, so that isn’t the point of this post).

People might think that this would be a boon for women in China. People were speculating that this would help reduce families’ archaic desire to kill off their unborn daughters in favor of sons and help bring the country’s gross gender imbalance under some control. If families can have two children, then they will be more likely to keep their first daughter because they can always try for a son later. Or, if they already have a son, they might decide to keep their second baby no matter what sex it is.

Alas, this is not what appears to be happening. Many parents who didn’t kill their daughters in their first go-round are not about to waste the opportunity of a second child on a worthless girl again. One mother said “I had no choice when I was not permitted to have a second child, but now that the policy is relaxed I feel my life may be made complete if I have both a daughter and a son.” 

In mainland China, it is illegal to determine the sex of a baby before birth, even if you are just curious and aren’t planning a sex-selective abortion. In Hong Kong, though, it is legal to know the sex of a baby before birth, so some pregnant women are going to Hong Kong for ultrasounds or blood tests or are using agents who will send blood samples to testing centers in Hong Kong. A woman surnamed Xie, who has been acting as one of these agents since before the relaxed policies started taking effect, said she has had an increase in business lately.  These sorts of agencies are illegal in China, but it hasn’t stopped countless women in China from paying up to 7,500RMB (US$1,250) to find out the sex of their babies.

The hope that loosening the one-child policy would help protect baby girls was a mere dream. However, even before the one-child policy was implemented, female infanticide was rampant in China. The Chinese people have also spent over 30 years being brainwashed into thinking that having one child is best for families and the nation. Even completely eliminating the one-child policy will not help raise the status and numbers of girls. A complete overhaul in Chinese people’s thinking with regards to the roles and values of women in society has to take place to see any significant increase in the number of Chinese women. As long as China continues to treat women as second-class citizens, boys will always be preferred. The gender imbalance in China is probably not something that will be fixed for many generations.

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