The Chinese president arrived in South Africa this week, shaking hands with the locals and agreeing to millions in trade deals. But when I picked up a local newspaper this afternoon, I noticed that the front picture showed Chinese president Xi Jinping greeting a young local boy here in South Africa. The caption read “China will not forget its African brothers.”

The irony behind the photograph and the nuanced words, hit me hard. Over the past two years I have worked alongside individuals and organisations fighting gendercide in China. Gendercide, is defined as “the systematic extermination of a particular gender,” and has become widespread in China. With the use of illegal ultrasound equipment, couples can determine the sex of their child and choose to abort the female foetus. In other cases, midwives have been reported to deliver “stillborn” girls by strangling the female infant with the umbilical cord as she is delivered. These unjust practices have led to a deep gender imbalance in China (allgirlsallowed.com).
It is estimated that close to 20 million men will be without female partners in China, by the year 2020 and through the gendercide that has gripped China for over 35 years, 37 million baby girls have been routinely aborted. Their lives snuffed out and their voices drowned from the world.

The beginning of China’s dark gendercide, began with the implementation of a population control method called the one child policy. The policy was integrated in to the Chinese system in the late 70’s. It was a method to curb China’s rapidly expanding population and under the policy, women and couples were restricted to have only one child. Due to the patriarchal values of Chinese society, coupled with the fact that a son is responsible to provide for and take care of his aging parents, couples preferred birthing a son. The birth or announcement of a girl is often greeted with sorrow and those brave mothers who fight to keep their daughters, are often harmed or mistreated.
I have met a number of people who misunderstand the legislation of the policy, considering the policy to discriminate against baby girls. The one child policy does not openly discriminate against females, it simply states that in most cases couples can only have one child. The parents however, are the ones who decide which child to keep. If they prefer a son to a daughter, then the result is often gendercide, but they do exercise the right to keep their baby girl if they so choose. However, there are a number of social injustices many women face if they decide against their husbands will, to keep their daughters.

Human rights activists, advocates and many individuals have given their time, energy, and their resources to lobby against the one child policy and finally, the many prayers and petitions have paid off. At the beginning of November 2015, China has ended its one child policy, couples are now at liberty to have two children of any sex. The news has caused much mixed emotion throughout the world, but in most cases activists have welcomed the change. However, with the policy’s change, a new issue arises which the Chinese population will now have to overcome. The issue of deeply entrenched ideologies on the worth, value and sacredness of women hood. For over thirty years individuals across China, have viewed women as second class citizens, now the mind-set needs to shift and it has to begin with its leadership. In the Global Gender Gap report 2015, which measures gender equality across 145 countries in terms of education, health, economic opportunities for women and political indicators, China came in at a dismal number 91. The road towards equality after the one child policy is abolished in March 2016, is going to be challenging and not without its problems.

While China vows not to forget its African brothers, we vow not to forget our Asian sisters, all 37 million of them whose lives were snuffed out too soon. We hold to our desire for equality and we hold the leadership of China accountable to end the murders of the innocent and to increase equality for all. Nothing can undo the bondages and the horrors of the past but what happens in the future, is always up to us.

About The Author

Lauren

Lauren is a social justice journalist who writes about womens lives, their stories and their global impact. Her work on social justice has included articles on women abuse, gendercide, female ritual servitude, female literacy and the plight of child brides. She currently has three books out and her third, a biblical novel entitled Yehudit Chosen by God, won the Desmond Tutu - Gerrit Brand Award for the best debut Christian novel of 2017. Lauren's heart is to encourage women in their daily lives and challenges, she is an international speaker and a full-time writer. Visit her website and read some of her work over at www.laurenjacobs.co.za

Leave a Reply