Traditional preference for sons, abuse of medical technology such as illegal sex-selective abortion and other factors have led to an increasingly imbalanced sex ratio in China, Chinese Deputy Health Minister Liu Qian has said.
China's sex ratio at birth was 118 males for every 100 females in 2010. The number of males for every 100 females has risen consistently every decade from 108 in 1982, 111 in 1990 and 116 in 2000, the China Daily reports.
Liu said that the government has taken a number of steps to address the problem, including improving the country's social security system and harshly cracking down on sex-selective abortions.
Doctors who are found practicing non-medical-related sex checkups or sex-selective abortions will lose their licenses, and any medical institutions found to be involved will also be given harsh punishments, the report said.
The controversial One-Child Policy has been blamed for widening gender imbalance, with reports saying that the couples who adopted the policy have found themselves under pressure to have their only allowed child be male.
The reasons for this are many, including traditional cultural preferences and perceived greater economic opportunities for men. These pressures have contributed to a sharp rise in female infanticide and, along with more widespread use of medical technologies, an increasing rate of sex-selective abortions.