A Shanghai "making friends" party is a chance for single men and women to meet members of the opposite sex. But many boys, particularly in China's rural areas, face a future where they will be unable to find a partner. (Photo/CFP)
March 8 was International Women's Day, giving rise to discussion about the imbalanced sex ratio in China at the annual sessions of the country's rubber-stamp legislative bodies this week. Experts say that the number of the adult men of marrying age will exceed that of the women by 30 million in 2020.
"The sex ration problem is a matter of serious concern," said Jing Tiankui, deputy director of the academic division of social, political, and legal studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Traditional Chinese culture favors bearing male children who carry on a family's lineage and are responsible for caring for parents in their old age.
The country's most recent census shows there are currently 117 male children for every 100 girls. The ratio is as high as 130:100 in some provinces, especially in rural villages. Expert estimate that by 2020, the number of men aged 20 to 45 will exceed that of women by 30 million.
Jing said having so many more men will lead to a slew of social problems, such as human trafficking to buy wives and a rise in sex crimes. Li Jianxin, professor of sociology at Peking University, said the skewed ratio gives women the choice to get married or remain single, but millions of men will not have the same option. There will be countless cases of men who want to start a family but cannot find a partner.
Jing Tiankui 景天魁
Li Jianxin 李建新