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The Chinese dilemma

Abhishek K

One lesser known disadvantage of Chinas OneChild Policy, which had been in force for several decades was the growing number of men. Chinese parents wanted sons so that their family name is carried forward. Since families were allowed to have only one child, they wanted their shot to be perfect, i.e. a boy in the first attempt!

maxresdefaultDepending on the region, there still are about 117-120 boys for every 100 girls, i.e. 120 surplus boys to a 1000 girls. China has approximately 3 crore surplus or spare men between age 25-40 who will never find a partner. To give the reader an estimate of this number, this is approximately equal to the population of entire Punjab state. The number is greater than the population of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi put together. 3 crore is more than the population of Belgium, Portugal and Sweden put together.

To add to the misery of men who somehow manage to find a mate, there is tradition of Caili or gifts and money that they have to pay to the brides’ parents as a token of gratitude for the upbringing of their daughter. Traditionally, it was limited to a decent amount of money and gifts but the situation has changed. There is a growing demand of brides and hence the Caili have soared. Brides’ parents are demanding exorbitant amounts of money and precious gifts as Caili.

An ideal Chinese husband is expected to own a house and the property rates are sky rocketing in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. The men there have lost hope and can’t dream of marrying ever. According to online matrimonial postings, men from Beijing and Shanghai have to pay more than 20 lakh Yuan to get married.

In a recent move to offset the impact of a rapidly aging society, China has decided to allow all couples to have two children. It was also intended to reduce abortions as millions of female foetuses were aborted every year in China in pursuit of male children.

Now the Chinese parents are in a fix; whether to have a male child, who could carry forward their lineage or not. It is so, because eventually it will be difficult to pay Caili and hence difficult to get married. Eventually, if it’s going to be difficult to marry, how else would he propagate his family name.