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Friday, March 12, 2010

Gendercide: The Economist’s cover story on the forced killing of baby girls in China

The current issue of The Economist shows how the personal tragedies of women forced to abort girls, have them destroyed at birth, or let die through neglect, are leading to catastrophic social situations in China. The mass destruction of girls has left a systemic gender imbalance in the population where there are more unmarried young men in China than the entire population of young men in America.

The Economist, as its name suggests, looks at the world through the unsentimental lens of economic realities. It specialises in taking a hard look at the facts and figures that are newsworthy. This makes the cover story on its 6th March 2010 issue, all the more astonishing.

On a full-page funeral-black front cover is a pink pair of baby girl’s shoes and over them in huge pink letters a single-word banner headline, GENDERCIDE* and under that a subheading asking What happened to 100 million baby girls? There is a full-page editorial, again headed Gendercide, and the story runs over 4 full pages and a long review of a new book on the same phenomenon. It’s must-read stuff.

The Economist supports legal abortion. But there is something new. It now acknowledges, that ‘the cumulative consequence of such individual actions is catastrophic’, describing the results as 'carnage’.

It’s a breakthrough article for the pro-life community, mainstreaming information and analysis that has been available for 20 years. The 100 million missing baby girls of The Economist’s front-page comes from an article** by Indian economist, Amarta Sen who won the 1998 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on welfare economics.

So what happened to this unimaginably large number of baby girls? The subheading of the editorial sums it up, ‘Killed, aborted or neglected, at least 100m girls have disappeared – and the number is rising’. They were killed by their parents, or given away by them, or died through selective neglect by their parents, especially the mothers under crushing pressure from the traditions and ideologies of their families and local and national communities.

The lethal cultural bias against girls is concentrated primarily in China but also in India, Taiwan and Singapore, in South Korea until the 1990s, in some ex-communist countries and also seems to be reflected in the gender imbalance among Chinese-Americans and Japanese-Americans.

The huge numbers are due to the mutual reinforcement of false and dysfunctional traditional disvalues and modern ideological disvalues, both communist and those of the emerging middle classes. China’s one-child policy, The Economist says, ‘profoundly perverts family life’.

The harrowing effect on the mothers themselves surfaces in China’s shameful suicide rate for women. The Economist article notes China’s female suicide rates are among the world’s worst. ‘Suicide is the commonest form of death among Chinese rural women aged 15-34; young mothers kill themselves by drinking agricultural fertilizers which are easy to come by. The journalist Xinran Xue thinks they cannot live with the knowledge that they have aborted or killed their baby daughters.’

Every pro-life person needs to study this article and the accompanying editorial. You can read The Economist headline article here

* The dramatic word ‘gendercide’ is from Mary Anne Warren’s 1985 book, Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection.

** Amarta Sen, ‘More Than 100 Million Women Are Missing’, The New York Review of Books, (Vol. 37, No. 20, 20th December 1990; http://ucatlas.ucsc.edu/gender/Sen100M.html, accessed 11th March 2010)


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