China's bachelors to face marriage cirsis after 2020

2015-09-30 10:02:47 GMT2015-09-30 18:02:47(Beijing Time)  ecns.cn
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Shanghai-based China Business News has stated that the country may face a marriage crisis starting 2020, citing demographic expert Yao Meixiong.

The newspaper highlights the fact that the bride price, a sort of reverse dowry that men pay their bride-to-be's family, has rocketed to 150,000 yuan ($23, 534) or even higher in villages across Hebei province in the past five years, costing a common family years of savings.

Unable to afford to the bride price, many villages see an increase in bachelors.

Unbalanced gender ratio

Figures released show that at the end of 2014, China had 701 million men and 667 million women — a shortfall of nearly 34 million.

The normal sex ratio of newborns is above 103 to 107 (women to men). But in China the ratio climbed to 121.18 in 2004, 100 girls for more than 121 boys.

Despite a constant drop in China's highly skewed sex ratio at birth during the past seven years, the nation still faces a steep challenge.

Currently, China is among 18 countries and regions worldwide with sex ratios at birth higher than 107 and has been suffering the most skewed gender ratio for the longest period of time, an official of the National Health and Family Planning Commission said.

Crisis of bachelors

The report referred to a marriage squeeze, a population imbalance by which the number of potential brides does not match the number of potential grooms.

By 2020, there will be at least 24 million more Chinese men aged 20 to 45 than women of the same age, leaving particularly the underprivileged countryside with aging bachelors, experts estimate.

Liu Yanwu, a researcher at Huazhong Technology and Science University said the bachelor rate in Henan, Hubei and Guizhou provinces has jumped since 1980s. There are even "bachelor villages" in mountainous areas.

Yao told the newspaper that the large surplus male population poses a threat to social stability. An excess of men may well lead to more marriage disputes, crime, sexual violence and women trafficking. Other experts have also highlighted the looming threat.

Reasons

Primary causes, as many experts recognize, include the deeply rooted favoring of males due to social and economic factors.

Besides, two famous experts, Huang Wenzheng and Liang Jianzhang, include family planning regulations and fetus gender identification into the mix of causes.

"The gender ratio will not exist with any of the three factors absent," they added.

Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Amartya Sen coined the term "missing women" to describe the large number of women in the world who are literally not alive due to family neglect and discrimination.

Health authorities have launched campaigns each year to clamp down on illegal prenatal gender tests and sex-selective abortions.

From 1971 to 2012, 270 million cases of artificial abortions have been registered, excluding the considerable amount of medical abortions, according to China's health yearbook.

Liang Jianzhang thinks changes in current family planning polices are needed, the most effective way to address the gender-ratio imbalance.

Even if the authorities change such regulations and encourage all couples to have two children, the decline in newborns is inevitable, according to Liang.

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