Officials in Guangzhou recently arrested a brother and sister for offering illegal ultrasounds to help pregnant women determine the sex of fetuses. Accused of operating a “sex-discrimination center” by ECNS, the pair would charge expectant couples between 300-500 RMB ($44-73 USD) to learn the sex of their child. The operation took place in a minivan, whose windows had curtains to hide the ultrasound appointments which would occur in the back.
The siblings had been discreetly conducting the tests out of the van for three years, but the sister admitted to having done such work for 17 years, reports the South China Morning Post. An appointment would take a matter of minutes, with the van picking up the expectant mother at her home. The ultrasound would then be conducted right then and there.
Police raided the vehicle and found the ultrasound equipment along with an address book containing 40 contacts, which they believe to be the siblings’ client list. The authorities fear that the tests conducted may have resulted in the abortion of perfectly healthy fetuses for no other reason than that they were female.
Determining the sex of an unborn child was made illegal in China in 2001, and, since then, police have busted many similar operations. Due to a number of historical and cultural practices and preferences, China has found itself with a very serious gender imbalance in its population.
Historically, sons have held a more valuable and cherished position in the Chinese family and thus were preferred over daughters. Such traditional understandings were exaggerated under China’s “one-child” policy during which time parents often only had one opportunity to have a child. Officials believed that outlawing practices that allowed parents to know the gender of their child before birth would help to re-balance the significant demographic discrepancy which has developed over the second half of the 20th century.
But, so far, the ban hasn’t been all that successful. It is illegal for even licensed medical professionals to conduct such examinations, but, according to some reports, they are still being carried out at some private hospitals around the country. And, despite the termination of the “one-child” policy last year, there are still an estimated 33 million more Chinese men than women. China is known for having one of the fastest growing populations in the world, but as long as expectant parents favor sons over daughters, the gender gap isn’t about to close any time soon.
This means that any eligible bachelors looking for a female companion will continue to have some serious competition.
By Emma Abrams
[Images via Sina]
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