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Child abduction in China

In China, advocates for missing children claim that there is an epidemic of young boys being kidnapped, fueled at least in part by the government’s family planning policies:

The demand is especially strong in rural areas of south China, where a tradition of favoring boys over girls and the country’s strict family planning policies have turned the sale of stolen children into a thriving business.

Su Qingcai, a tea farmer from the mountainous coast of Fujian Province, explained why he spent $3,500 last year on a 5-year-old boy. “A girl is just not as good as a son,” said Mr. Su, 38, who has a 14-year-old daughter but whose biological son died at 3 months. “It doesn’t matter how much money you have. If you don’t have a son, you are not as good as other people who have one.”

The centuries-old tradition of cherishing boys — and a custom that dictates that a married woman moves in with her husband’s family — is reinforced by a modern reality: Without a real social safety net in China, many parents fear they will be left to fend for themselves in old age.

(h/t Saletan)

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