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As China's population becomes more dominated by males, authorities have begun a national campaign to crack down on procedures used to determine a fetus' sex for anything other than medical purposes and abortions performed because a fetus is of a certain sex.|
The campaign is being undertaken by the National Population and Family Planning Commission, the Ministry of Health, the State Food and Drug Administration, the Ministry of Public Security and other government agencies. It will last until March 2012 on the mainland, Li Bin, minister of the family planning commission, said at a national teleconference on Tuesday.
The campaign will give the public a sense of the importance of having a balance between the numbers of males and females in the population. It will also severely punish those who help to determine the sex of a fetus for something other than a medical purpose or to perform sex-selective abortions, and will ensure that more is done to monitor for those acts.
"Illegal fetal sex testing and sex-selective abortions are the direct causes of the long-term problem of a serious skewing in the sex ratio in the mainland, which arises from a deeply rooted tradition that favors boys," she said.
"If the trend in the ratio imbalance continues without something to intervene, it will put at risk the equality of the sexes, the development of girls, the lawful interests and rights of women and the nation's long-term development."
Liu Qian, vice-minister of health, pledged to make sure health institutions are better supervised, warning that "those caught taking part in such practices will be seriously punished or may even face criminal charges".
Doctors who violate the ban will be stripped of their licenses or otherwise punished and medical institutions found to be taking part in the practices will be subject to harsh punishments, Liu said.
In 2010, China's sex ratio among newborn babies on the mainland was 118.08 males for every 100 females, the greatest disparity found in the world.