China’s Unwanted Men

In late June an angry crowd, estimated at 10,000 people, set fire to a government building and police cars in southwestern China. More than 150 people were injured, and it took 1,500 paramilitary and riot police to restore a semblance of order.

The crowd was protesting the “alleged cover-up of a teenage girl’s rape and murder” by three young men, including the “son of a local politician.”

While news agencies cited the incident as an example of unrest over corruption and injustices, there is another Chinese problem highlighted in this story: “China’s testosterone problem.”

That’s the term the New Republic used to characterize the social problems caused by the male-female imbalance in China. As writer Mara Hvistendahl tells us, China “has the largest gender imbalance in the world . . .” There are 37 million more men than women in China; and “almost 20 percent more newborn boys than girls nationwide.” In some parts of China, there are 60 percent more male children than female!

The imbalance is the product of China’s infamous “one-child policy,” in which the government told villagers, and I quote, “YOU CAN BEAT IT OUT! YOU CAN MAKE IT FALL OUT! YOU CAN ABORT IT! BUT YOU CANNOT GIVE BIRTH TO IT!”

Many villagers complied, but with a twist: They made sure that the “one child” would be a boy, who could earn more than girls could. As a result, a researcher at the Chinese Institute for Social Sciences estimates that 10 percent of Chinese men will be unable to find wives.

Of course, frustrated men will make their presence felt, as Beijing is learning. After the first generation of “one child” boys hit adolescence, China’s juvenile crime rate more than doubled. Chinese officials complained about young men committing crimes “without specific motives, often without forethought.”

Sound familiar? History teaches us that unattached, unmarriageable males are “disproportionately responsible for drug abuse, looting, vandalism, and violent crime.” This was true of “frontier towns,” “immigrant ghettos,” and our own inner-cities. There is no reason to think that China will be any different.

And the worst is yet to come as the imbalance grows larger. Government officials worry about the “hidden threat to social stability” posed by a cohort of “hopeless, volatile men.” Wars have often started, historically, when men tried to find wives elsewhere.

But the best the government can come up with are slogans like, “Boys and Girls are both treasures.” Meanwhile young Chinese men gather in bars where they pay $15 a minute to assault the waiters. Yes, you heard me correctly. Even more ominously, if the customer prefers, the waiter will dress in women’s clothing. No wonder ordinary Chinese are worried for the safety of their daughters!

It is hard to find a better example of the consequences that arise from defying the moral order that God has written into His creation. China thought it could create a harmonious society where every child was wanted; now unwanted men threaten its very stability.

China fears its own sons and worries about its daughters all because it followed a false worldview, ignoring God’s design.

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