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Employees sort packages at a hub of Shentong (STO) Express delivery company in Wuhan, Hubei province November 11, 2013.
Employees sort packages at a hub of Shentong (STO) Express delivery company in Wuhan, Hubei province November 11, 2013.
(Darley Shen/Reuters)

Easing one-child policy too late for China’s labour force

If anyone at Mattel is paying attention, they should quickly get to work on a new series of Han Chinese Barbie dolls. One of the hoped-for consequences of the decision by China’s leadership to ease up on its one-child policy could be a recovery in the female birth rate.

China’s brutal population control policy has had many unintended consequences, one of which was the extension of a traditional gender preference for boy babies into gender implementation through selective fetal abortion. As a result of the skewed birth rate – China has 117 male births for 100 female – it is reckoned by 2020 there will be 35 million more men of marriageable age than there are women.