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If Indian geopolitics isn't the focus of your interest then you might not see much value in this blog. You might wonder: What is the point of repeated posts boasting of better Chinese results?
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Gendercide in China and India

China and North India should be ashamed of not valuing daughters. An article last year in the Economist popularized the term gendercide to describe the widespread practice in China and a few Indian states of sex selective abortions targetting girls. The 2010 Chinese census reports an imbalance of 118 boys for every 100 girls among newborns. That's not as bad as the mid-decade high in China of 124 boys for every girls among the 1-4 age group. In India only Haryana and Punjab have gender imbalances that are comparable to the Chinese national average (but not compared to the highest Chinese provincial averages which are astonishing).

I wish to point out a part of the culture of gendercide that gets little presstime. Although gender selected abortions is the primary mechanism of eliminating girls in these parts of the world, there is a disturbing practice of inflicting death by neglect in both countries. Here are statistics collected from the CIA World Factbook.

The US like much of the world has a typical disparity in infant mortality rates (number of deaths of one year old infants or younger per 1000). The male rate is higher:

male: 6.94 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.55 deaths/1,000 live births

Another country, Taiwan conforms to the typical global disparity of a higher male infant mortality rate:

male: 5.64 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.04 deaths/1,000 live births

But in China and India, the female infant mortality rates are higher:

China | male: 18.87 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 21.77 deaths/1,000 live births
India | male: 46.18 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 49.14 deaths/1,000 live births

The higher female infant mortality rates reveal that in China and a few Indian states, parents discriminate against daughters by depriving them of nutrition and health care so their demise will give room for sons.

The elimination of so many girls by neglect is the gravest human rights crisis in China and I'm extremely disappointed in the Western media for not giving it prominence. This is an issue in which greater attention and humiliation piled on China will be effective in spurring a solution rather than backlash and defiance. If the plight of infant girls is better known, the emerging leisure activist class in developed coastal China will demand the government protect girls in backwards China.

In India where there is much greater public discussion of the implications of the growing gender imbalance, I wish opinion leaders will devote attention to this ugly aspect of the problem.

If you know journalists covering this field or know anyone who knows someone, please bring up this undercovered issue and urge a write up.

6 comments:

  1. Gendericide is indeed the greatest human right violation in China. Interesting comment on the Western criticism though. This is gonna sound cynical but I often find Western criticism over China is generally aim to irritate the Chinese government or to support Western interest. Issues that are generally criticised - Tibet/political freedom/Taiwan/currency exchange are issues China is in self-denial. Whereas gender equality is not an issue that Chinese government denies. China has been trying to eliminate gender inequality for many years. In fact, reporting the sex of the fetus is illegal in China. As with most cultural issues, government decree is generally powerless to stop entrenched cultural beliefs. Unfortunately it seems it takes a generation of men without wife to change the current trend.

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  2. Hi,

    This is an awesome blog. I am extremely impressed by your intimate knowledge of both economies. I am infact, intrigued by your background that has allowed you such analyses.

    Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself (without revealing your nationality - which it appears you have been careful to hide). Do you work in government? Are you a business person shuttling between the two countries? Are you an academic? What ... are you ?

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  3. Hi Anon.

    I work in foreign direct investment law.

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  4. Ah, thanks.
    Amazing blog - keep up the good work.

    Are you on twitter?

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  5. Nah. Wouldn't know what to do with a Twitter account.

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  6. Haha. Well, I must tell you that I have found a twitter account useful mainly as a way to get introduced to interesting articles that other opinion makers have found interesting.

    My twitter handle is @nerus000. If you ever get a twitter account, please give me a holler.

    Meanwhile, I need to get back to reading the rest of your articles ...

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