After all those attempts to make Hong Kong a centre for cruise ships, high-tech, Chinese medicine and a hundred other lost causes, the city has inadvertently become a fetal gender testing hub. It is possible these days to detect a fetus’s DNA in the mother’s blood from around eight weeks after conception. Check for a Y chromosome, and you can find out whether the baby will be a boy, who will grow up to continue the family line, or a girl, who will grow up to look after her husband’s aging parents while you rot.
Such tests are illegal in the Mainland, where – thanks to the one-child policy – abortion of undesirable unborn females means that the country now produces 18% more boys than girls. But there is no such bar in the Big Lychee, so entrepreneurial testing labs are apparently doing a thriving trade. What the Global Times story doesn’t make clear is how, in cases where the expectant mother’s blood is drawn in Shenzhen, the sample moves across the border in violation of customs regulations. It does seem likely that Hong Kong regulations are being broken in this sordid trade/weird example of ‘1 country 2 systems’ in action/exciting new business opportunity.
We are also violating national policy. Just three months ago, authorities in Beijing announced specific targets to reduce illegal sex-selective abortions. Now along comes Hong Kong, even under loyalist Chief Executive CY Leung, flagrantly opposing the central people’s government, tut tut. As if rejecting patriotic education in schools weren’t bad enough.
What is Hong Kong facilitating exactly here? The demographics may not be quite as distorted as they seem, since some newborn baby girls in the Mainland aren’t registered, but they’re not drowned in buckets either. And experts say that a surplus of men increases the social status and power of women as they marry up – at least, for the ones who aren’t kidnapped and sold. Generally, though, it’s bad news: a large cohort of unmarried lower-class men will contribute to crime, social instability and even make war more likely. But hey – that’s what being a hub is all about: having influence beyond your size. Trafficking of women from Southeast Asia will probably rise too, so we’d better get on with that third runway.
Needless to say: it’s all Westerners’ fault, anyway.
On a different note: Juxtaposition of the day from the South China Morning Post…
China can launch nukes from anywhere in the country (left)… but can’t build bridges (right).
There’s never any shortage of totty in Hong Kong. No worries.
In the end it’s likely to be a self-correcting process. Fewer women around, therefore they tend to marry up into a higher income bracket, into families with middle class values, and more enlightened views, which means they are are therefore less likely to terminate the female fetus. Overtime the balance is restored unless cultural norms in favour of sons outweighs humanist values. Just an idea.
I hope they are careful crossing bridges while moving the nukes around.
The one child policy took effect in 1979, which means the first scions born under its auspices are now around 33. What happens to an economy when it has a demographic squeeze in the 24 – 35 age group that will persist and move up the age brackets as time goes on? What happens when that economy when it operates in a Confucian culture that places the burden of support parents and grandparents on the working generations – where the inverted pyramid of 2 parents + 4 grandparents spending on 1 little emperor suddenly flips when the little emperor is expected to support the 6 elders?
Demographics are not entirely determinative of the economic future, but this plus the likelihood that China has squeezed as much growth as it can out of cheap labour and urbanisation-based efficiency and must now start targetting efficiency improvements will make life in the next decade or two interesting.
Of course, I’m not saying anything shocking here. There are plenty of people already pointing out these two issues both individually and their conjunction. We just need a way of convincing people that the one child policy was a conspiracy by the West or the Japanese foisted upon the Chinese people.
@ Tiu Fu Fong….” when the little emperor is expected to support the 6 elders? ”
Expect a sudden liberalization of euthanasia laws.
Walter, you may be right but in the meantime what untold damage might be wrought by several generations of millions of uneducated males rampaging around the Chinese countryside (and cities)?
In an ideal world, the status of Chinese women would rise as demand outstrips supply. Unfotunately, what has already started happening is trafficing of women from other countries into China to become “wives” to address the imbalance. So, not only has the Chinese prediliction for male offspring screwed up their own country through selective abortions, but will now also screw up neighbouring countries. Having said that, once the pure Han genes start getting watered down with brown genes then, perhaps, something will be done …
@Tiu Fu Fong
The obvious answer is do what they did in Logan’s Run – don’t allow people to get old. Kill’em offliving. Obviously not the rich ones, since they will pay someone to be killed on their behalf, but the riff-raff that makes up 90% of the population. Culling old people not just by polluting the air, water and food, but by sending in the PLA or unhinged Americans with assault rifles. Problem solved!
A business opportunity perhaps to open some of those Thai style ladyboy go go bars !
I’m sure the CCP would trade preservation of party rule over the hurt feelings or whatever else of the Chinese people (males)
Old people were not killed off in Logan’s Run, they were renewed. Anything else is runner (and probably splittist) propaganda.
Of course the other possibility is that all these single males go gay … any port in a storm. You then see the emergence of gay culture across China with Judy Garland themed nightclubs, Cher playing to thousands in the Birdsnest Stadium (there’s a clue in the name) and the pink yuen holding sway over the economy. Just an idea.
But I must agree with Mr. Sleaze. I see no shortage of totty in Hong Kong on the odd occasion Mrs DH allows me out to LKF for a medicinal ale.
Lol Logan’s Run. There’s a demographic identifier right there.
The answer is obvious : Polyandry !
Polyandry : one woman with multiple husbands, is suited well for societies where population growth needs to be halted and where men outnumber women. Polyandry limits population growth, as several men are sharing the limited reproductive capacities of one woman. Thus, polyandry is a reproductive strategy that would be ideally suited for today’s China, as China both desires to curb its rampant overpopulation and to give its 24 million surplus males a chance of marrying that would not be possible in a monogamy-only society.
(Anyway : given the ability of “ladies of the night” to get through – and exhaust the sexual capabilities of – several Chinese men in a 12 hour dusk-till-dawn session , it seems one wife could easily satisfy several husbands )
If the PRC went all Logan’s Run, I dread what horrors would appear on their version of the Circuit (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMlHZNMH5KA).
And of course Hong Kong had 500,000 more women than men as of the middle of this year. Not bad for a city of 7m, and a demonstration that locals are doing their patriotic duty to offset that sex imbalance on the mainland side of the border.
Just something vis-a-vis mainland China’s one-child policy. They were aware of the so called “4-2-1” problem… so by 2007, all provinces except Henan allowed couples to have two children if both parents were only children themselves. Henan allowed this in 2011.