NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

NO COUNTRY FOR YOUNG MEN

July 15, 2008

The increase in macho violence spurting forth through outlets like war games is a growing trend in Chinese society, and China's one-child policy, in effect since 1979, is partly responsible, says , says New Republic.

The country's three decades of iron-first population planning coincided with a binge in sex-selective abortions (since the Chinese traditionally favor sons, who carry on the family line), and a rise, even as the country developed, in female infant mortality.  Consider:

  • After almost 30 years of the policy, China now has the largest gender imbalance in the world, with 37 million more men than women.
  • There are almost 20 percent more newborn boys than girls nationwide.
  • In Lianyungang, a city in the Jiangsu province, there are 163 boys for every 100 girls, says the China Family Planning Association.
  • By 2020, researchers estimate that 10 percent of Chinese men will be unable to find wives.

The coming boom in restless young men promises to overhaul Chinese society in some potential scary ways as these unwanted men look for ways to fill up their time: 

  • A long-term study of Vietnam veterans in 1998 revealed the subjects' testosterone levels, which are linked to aggression and violence, dropped when they married and increased when they divorced.
  • Eternally single men, by extension, maintain high levels of testosterone -- a recipe for violent civil unrest.
  • Over the past decade, as Chinese boys hit adolescence, the country's youth crime rate more than doubled.

In December, Chinese Society of Juvenile Delinquency Research Deputy Secretary General Liu Guiming said that today's teens were committing crimes "without specific motives, often without forethought."

Source: Mara Hvistendahl, "No Country for Young Men," New Republic, July 9, 2008.

 

Browse more articles on Government Issues