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Missing Girls In An Era Of High Quality: Governmental Control Over Population And Daughter Discrimination In Contemporary China

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Chapter Summary

China has experienced an alarming and increasing gender skew in infants since the early 1980s. This chapter uses the most recent Chinese demographic data to argue that the social causes of this gendered demographic phenomenon can be attributed to two major government-led transitions begun in the 1970s: the privatization of the rural economy and strict family planning regulations. It highlights that it is necessary to consider cultural, political and economic factors as intertwined and even mutually constitutive in regards to daughter discrimination, rather than viewing them as separate spheres. The chapter presents the gender skew in children and corresponding discrimination against daughters in modern China as an evolving socially-constructed phenomenon rather than a static, unchangeable legacy passed down from time immemorial. It finally considers how suzhi discourse provides ideological justification for the overvaluation of sons and the undervaluation of daughters in rural China.

Keywords: contemporary China; daughter discrimination; family planning regulations



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