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Sunday, September 16, 2007


No one wants me, buy me a house

I learned recently of another consequence of China's one-child policy. Some parents feel they are obliged to buy a house for their sons.

Being able to have only one child, parents tend to prefer a boy over a girl as traditionally in China sons look after the parents when they get old. The daughter marries into a new family and helps to look after her husband's parents. If parents are aware of the gender of the baby before birth, girls are at times aborted. This has led to an imbalance and there are not enough women to go around. I even heard a story of a remote village where some women have two husbands.

Many parents are concerned that their sons may remain unmarried. They feel obliged to buy them a house to make them more attractive to prospective brides. I heard this discussed (in English) by a group of around twenty adults, both men and women. It seemed that a majority accepted this as they way it should be.

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