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China Now Has 33,5 Million More Men Than Women

China’s latest population data reveal that despite the implementation of the ‘two child policy’, the gender imbalance is a continuing social problem.

Manya Koetse

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China’s latest population data reveal that despite the implementation of the ‘two child policy’, the gender imbalance is a continuing social problem.

According to an article issued by national broadcaster CCTV and the Global Times on January 22, the Chinese state now explicitly encourages married couples to have two children.

Recently, the National Bureau of Statistics published a report with new statistics that show the results of China’s shift from its one-child policy (独生子女政策) to the ‘two-child policy’ (二孩政策), that was implemented in late October of 2015.

 

“At the peak of the disparity in girls and boys births in 2004, 121.2 boys were born for every 100 girls.”

 

Data shows that in 2016, a total of 17.86 million children were born; a mere increase of 1.31 million childbirths compared to 2015.

The total population of mainland China (excluding Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan) was estimated at 1.38 billion in late 2016, which marks an increase of 8 million people compared to the year before.

Over 16% (230.8 million) of China’s population is now aged 60 or older. The working age population (16-60 years) is 907.47 million, accounting for 65.6% of the total population.

The data also shows China’s rapid urbanization: the rural population has decreased with 13.7 million people. Currently, almost 793 million people in China live in urban areas, with less than 590 million people residing in China’s rural areas.

Looking at the gender proportionality, China’s male population is currently 708.15 million, with a female population of 674.56 million. This marks China’s problem with gender imbalance, as there are now 33.5 million more men than women.

The article states that China’s current male-female ratio is 104.98 (for every 100 women). In countries such as the UK, the ratio of boys to girl births was 105.3 to 100 in the 2010-2014 period.

But China has seen some extreme imbalanced gender ratios in births since the implementation of the One Child Policy in 1979, which has resulted in a specific disparity in men and women of marrying age. This imbalance has partly been caused by sex-selective abortions.

At the peak of the disparity in girls and boys births in 2004, 121.2 boys were born for every 100 girls (see Larson 2014). The recent CCTV article does not give the gender ratio of births in 2016.

 

“I have three daughters, I made my contribution to society.”

 

On Weibo, the publication of the latest data triggered discussions on China’s gender imbalance.

Some netizens do not think it is a reason for concern: “We don’t need to worry about those 30 million,” one person wrote: “Men can also be together.” Others agree, saying: “Should this not be a reason for us to legalize gay marriage?”

But some find the statistics confusing and too vague: “We need to know the gender ratio of men and women below the age of 30,” they say. “With these numbers, how can so many women still be single?”, others wonder.

Despite the fact that many men in China of marrying age find it hard to find a bride due to the gender imbalance (see: China’s Leftover Men), many women, often referred to as ‘leftover women‘, also struggle to find a suitable partner.

The problem in gender disparity and the struggle to find a partner can partly be explained by the difference in gender ratios between the cities and the countryside, as there are more unmarried women in urbanized areas, while there are more unmarried men in rural areas (see our ‘read more’ articles).

“How am I ever going to find a woman to marry?” some male netizens ask.

There are also people criticizing the official promotion for married couples to have two children: “The family planning [bureau] should have abandoned [the one child policy] long before. Now the problem is not whether we have enough food to eat, but that we are dealing with an aging society. What is the hope of a country without young people?”

“I already made my contribution to society,” one female commenter says: “I’ve had 3 girls. I was pregnant twice, and the second time I had twin girls.” Other netizens applaud the woman. “You must be pretty happy now,” they say.

– By Manya Koetse
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Featured image: “Boys and girls are equally good; girls are also the next generation.”.

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Insight

Exchange Student to Be Deported from China for Harassing Young Woman at University

An exchange student studying at the Hebei University of Engineering has been expelled and will soon be deported after harassing a female student.

Manya Koetse

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An exchange student from Pakistan who was studying at the Hebei University of Engineering (河北工程大学) has been expelled and detained after harassing a female student at the same university.

The incident, that is attracting much attention on Chinese social media this week, adds to the wave of recent controversies over the behavior and status of overseas students in mainland China.

On July 31, a female student at the Hebei university filed a police report against a Pakistani student who allegedly harassed her and attempted to forcefully kiss her and touch her breasts.

Screenshots of a supposed WeChat conversation between the exchange student and the female student, in which the man apologizes and claims the interaction is a “requirement for friendship,” are being shared on social media.

According to various reports, the police initially tried to mediate between the two students, which the female student refused.

Together with the school principal, the police then further investigated the case and found ample evidence of harassment after examining the university’s surveillance system.

On August 1st, the Hebei University of Engineering announced that they had expelled the student and that he will be deported from China. The announcement received more than 14,000 reactions and 150,000 ‘likes’ on Weibo.

The student is now detained at the local Public Security Bureau and is awaiting his deportation.

A photo of two officers together with a man in front of the detention center in Handan is circulating on social media in relation to this incident.

At time of writing, the hashtag page “Exchange Student to Be Deported after Molesting Female Student” (#留学生猥亵女学生将被遣送出境#) has been viewed over 310 million times on Weibo.

Among thousands of reactions, there are many who praise the Hebei university for supporting the female student after she reported the exchange student to the police.

“This may not be the best university, but at least they stand behind their students!”, some say, with others calling the university “awesome.”

Many say that the Hebei university should serve as an example for other Chinese universities to follow, with Shandong University being specifically mentioned by Weibo users.

Shandong University was widely criticized earlier this summer for its “buddy exchange program,” which was accused of being a way to arrange Chinese “girlfriends” for male foreign students.

Another incident that is mentioned in relation to this trending story is that of an exchange student who displayed aggressive behavior towards a Chinese police officer in July of this year. The student was not punished for his actions, which sparked anger on Chinese social media.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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China Insight

“Bolt from the Blue”: Mainland Tourists Can No Longer Independently Travel to Taiwan

Chinese tourists who were planning a solo trip to Taiwan are out of luck.

Manya Koetse

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Starting from August 1st, 2019, mainland residents can no longer individually travel to Taiwan for tourism purposes, and can only visit the island with a pre-approved travel group until further notice. The news has become top trending on Chinese social media.

After Chinese authorities announced on July 31st that China will stop issuing individual travel permits for mainland residents visiting Taiwan, the topic became one of the most-discussed topics on social media this week.

China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism stated on its website that independent travel to Taiwan will be suspended from August 1st “in view of the current cross-strait situation.”

The brief statement announcing the ban.

State media outlet Global Times writes that the individual travel suspension is a result of “repeated provocative actions by the Tsai Ing-wen administration and secessionist forces on the island.”

Taipei Times explained the move as “another attempt to isolate Taiwan in the hope of spoiling President Tsai Ing-wen’s re-election chances.” Taiwan will hold its presidential elections in January 2020.

On Wednesday night local time, hashtags relating to the individual travel ban had gathered millions of views and comments on Sina Weibo.

 

ROC Restrictions for Mainland Travelers

 

Tourists from mainland China face restrictions when traveling to Taiwan, Republic of China (ROC), and must hold a travel permit to visit.

In July of 2008, PRC passport holders were first legally allowed to visit Taiwan for tourism purposes, but only if they joined a pre-approved group tour organized by a selected travel agency.

In 2011, these rules were relaxed after Taiwanese and mainland authorities agreed on a trial to allow mainland residents visiting Taiwan as individual tourists.

Under the terms of that ‘trial,’ mainland residents from 47 cities could apply for individual entry permits to Taiwan. These cities included places such as Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Harbin, Xiamen, and others.

With Wednesday’s statement, that program is currently put on hold. According to Focus Taiwan, this is the first time Beijing authorities have banned individual travelers from visiting Taiwan since June 2011.

Mainland tourists who want to visit Taiwan will now have to go back to joining tour groups again.

The Taiwanese tourism industry relies heavily on Chinese tourists. In 2015, the year before Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was elected, 4.2 million mainlanders visited the island, making up 40 percent of all tourists.

 

“A Bolt From the Blue”

 

On Weibo, the “Taiwan Individual Travel” account, an information channel for tourists, called the ban “a bolt from the blue” and said that it is unclear how long the restrictions will last: “We just hope that it is temporary.”

The post received over 11,500 comments from netizens, many of whom are confused about the ban and concerned on how it will affect their personal travel plans.

“I already received my permit, can I still go?” many wondered.

According to the China International Travel Service, mainland travelers with permits issued before August 1st can still go on their planned individual trips.

In a Weibo poll answered by more than 210,000 social media users, state media outlet China Daily asked people if they would still consider visiting Taiwan after the restrictions on individual travel permits.

The China Daily poll.

While more than 10 percent indicated they would be willing to join a tour group and still visit, a staggering 89,5 percent indicated they preferred free traveling and would not go at all.

“I will go once [the mainland and Taiwan are] unified,” some popular comments said.

Discussions over the ongoing Taiwan Strait Issue often flare up on Chinese social media. In August of 2018 for example, Taipei-born actress Vivian Sung ignited a storm of criticism on Weibo for a comment she made about Taiwan being her “favorite country.”

Last November, Taipei’s Golden Horse Film Festival was overclouded by controversy due to a speech about Taiwan independence (read here). Chinese state media responded to the issue by promoting the hashtags “China Can’t Become Smaller” and “Not Even a Bit Can Be Removed from China” (#中国一点都不能少#).

“Not Even a Bit Can Be Removed from China” propaganda images spread by People’s Daily.

Earlier this year, many Chinese netizens were furious to discover that the super popular Taiwanese online game Devotion contained secret insults toward President Xi Jinping.

Although big discussions on the current Taiwan travel ban are filtered on Chinese social media, there are still some smaller threads where Weibo users are speculating about the reasons behind the move.

Some blame Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen, and see the latest travel measures as a way for Beijing to economically impact the island’s tourism industry to influence upcoming elections.

Others argue that the current ban is more of a “protective measure,” to make sure Chinese travelers who individually roam Taiwan will not be influenced by its election campaigns and media.

Then there are also those who think the entire issue is all about the ongoing Hong Kong protests.

Responses are overall very mixed. Although there are netizens supporting the solo travel ban, there are also those who think the measure will have an ‘opposite effect’ of that desired.

Although Weibo is mostly popular in mainland China, the social media platform is also used by Taiwanese netizens.

“I heard many of our Taiwanese online friends are happy to hear the news [about the travel restrictions]. Finally, this is something that cross-strait netizens can agree on!” one popular Beijing blogger (@地瓜熊老六) writes, sharing an online meme that shows Taiwanese scenery with the line ‘Welcome to Taiwan, without Chinese.’

Still, there are also many Weibo users who want to visit Taiwan by themselves and are just concerned about the practicalities: “So, when do you think I will be able to visit again?”

“I was just preparing to go and visit Taiwan,” one commenter writes, posting a crying emoji: “Nevertheless, I will still support China in this.”

By Manya Koetse , with contributions from Miranda Barnes

Featured image: Photo by Vernon Raineil Cenzon

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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