The UN recently warned China that this ratio was very much out of order, though the Chinese leadership is undoubtedly aware of the perils posed by such an imbalance. A dire prognostication that is often mentioned is that there will be too many angry young men unable to find mates, resulting in widespread anti-social behavior and even military adventurism. It may sound far-fetched, but the world has not yet seen imbalances of this magnitude; it's frightening to contemplate what may come. In response, the Chinese are drafting more punitive measures for doctors and parents who use ultrasound and the like. From my point of view, however, unless more gender equality prevails in Chinese society, there is only so much these punitive measures can do. From the BBC:
I have also featured a host of recent stories from the China Daily on the matter. You can be certain that this topic is high on the priorities of the Chinese leadership. Whether it can come up with effective policies to lessen this imbalance is another question, for an attitudinal shift of great magnitude is undoubtedly required.
The Chinese government says it is drafting new laws to tackle the growing gender imbalance caused by the widespread abortion of female foetuses.
The practice is already banned, but new rules are expected to set out specific punishments for parents and doctors.
's Family Planning Association (CFPC) has revealed the extent of the imbalance - in one city there are eight young boys for every five girls. China
Experts fear the phenomenon could have unpredictable social consequences.
Some believe that with millions of men unable to find a wife, there could be risks of increasing anti-social and violent behaviour.
China's one-child policy, and a traditional preference for male heirs, has led many couples to try to ensure that their single offspring is a boy.
Some pay for illegal ultrasound tests to discover the sex of a foetus, and abort it if it is female.
"The root cause is traditional thinking that boys are better than girls, especially in poverty-stricken areas," Song Jiang, a population expert at Beijing's Renmin University, told the Xinhua news agency.
"Those people expect boys to support the family."
On Friday it was revealed that the eastern city of Lianyungang had the most skewed population. Among children under four years old, there are 163.5 boys for every 100 girls.
Ninety-nine cities had gender ratios higher than 125, state-run news agency Xinhua quoted the CFPA as saying in a report.
The UN recommends a gender ratio of no more than 107.