China's single men: 32,000,000 and counting...

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(CORRECTION: The 32 million was back in 2005. By now it's probable the number is around 45 million.)

The amendment of China's one-child to a two-child policy isn't likely to improve their ratios of old to young or men to women. Stuart Gietel-Basten, Associate Professor of Social Policy at the University of Oxford, writes:

...questions will undoubtedly be asked about the legacy of the one-child policy. While its likely role in driving down fertility has probably been overstated, its role in shaping the highly skewed ratio of boys born compared to girls is widely considered to have been significant. In 2005 there were 32m more men under the age of 20 than women in China.

...What is the likely psychological impact of 35 years of constant messaging extolling the benefits of one-child families? And how is that internalised? We shall see.

Looking elsewhere in Asia, though, the Chinese government may find that it is much easier to “encourage” people to have fewer children than to have more.

Gietel-Basten links to a study exploring the connection between China's one-child policy, its sex ratio, and abortion...

From the study: many countries, mainly in South and East Asia ...preference for sons has been manifest postnatally through female infanticide and the neglect and abandonment of girls. Where this persists, it mainly consists of failure to access necessary medical care.

Thirty years ago a man who had served as a missionary to China during the first part of the twentieth century told me it had not been uncommon to see baby girls exposed on the river banks, left by their parents to die. Now India and China use ultrasonagraphic sex determination and abortion. By other means the slaughter of millions of baby girls persists. Thus China's sex ratio will remain catastrophically imbalanced for at least the next two decades:

In 2005 males under the age of 20 exceeded females by more than 32 million in China, and more than 1.1 million excess births of boys occurred. China will see very high and steadily worsening sex ratios in the reproductive age group over the next two decades.

...Sex selective abortion accounts for almost all the excess males

It would be good to do a study of the birth rates and sex ratios among Christians who are members of China's house churches. There is a strong positive correlation between religious piety and fertility, especially among Christians. Women and men of Christian faith don't choose cars, houses, investments, vacation homes, or "a good education" over God's blessing of a house full of children.

Where is Christian faith more proven and denied than sexuality? What requires more faith than the fruitful marriage bed, pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood, and fatherhood?

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!