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China's Lost Girls

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China's Lost Girls

[font=Arial]China’s Lost Girls[/font] - 2005
National Geographic
Lisa Ling


· 1/4 adopted babies from abroad from China
· most girls
· population control - One child policy
· preferred males - girls hidden or killed
· 4000 years of history/culture
· China booming - over 1 billion people
· 1 in 5 live in China
· thousands of Chinese girls aborted, hidden, abandoned, or killed
· Atlanta, GA - girls adopted out
· Marissa abandoned in park when 3 days old
· Amelia 9 1/2 - says it was a miracle she was adopted
· 1000s of Americans in China ready to adopt a baby girl
· Alabama, NC, Texas, GA
· adoption process takes more than a year, $18,000
· Chinese gov’t has to approve it
· given a photo
· wait 3 days to meet your new baby
· under Mao in 50s and 60s population exploded
· after Mao, largest population control effort
· couples feel they have to have a boy - pressure for parents - females aborted, abandoned, given away
· 100000 baby girls abandoned every year
· 1 in 4 adopted children from overseas come from China - almost all baby girls
· millions of girls missing from China’s population
· boys outnumber girls today - too many boys to sustain population
· Gotcha Day - families disperse to meet their baby girls
· don’t know what condition their babies are in - don’t even know where they are
· flight and bus ride to get their babies
· majority of abandoned girls come from countryside - among highest in country
· pay a fine if couples have more than one child
· state will only allow them to have one
· prefer to have sons so that they work and stay - girls marry and leave
· Mrs. Yeh - had a son and had to pay thousands to keep her second child - a girl
· feudalistic thinking - if your family does not have a son, people will look down on you
· her husband said if she didn’t have a girl, he would send her away
· a girl abandoned shortly before this interview - in a box, no not with her birth date, put new clothes inside, left her in the market, in the morning could hear her crying
· adopted children - it can be okay to be adopted, sometimes annoying because you feel different from everyone else - some thankful, glad to not be in an orphanage
· growing imbalance of boys to girls - getting worse - 39 kids, 28 boys
· nearly 13 million more young boys than girls
· what happens when there aren’t enough girls? - not be able to match up with a mate in 10 years and establish a family - 10%
· 40 million marriage age men with no one to marry - 2020
· gender imbalance - cause crime and prostitution
· kidnapping women becoming a problem - forced to marry men in other provinces
· women beaten and held against their will - men will pay $435 for a wife - raped and bore children
· public conversation with mom from GA - Chinese man “disgraced” by their lack of help to little girls
· 500 children in any one orphanage
· if not adopted, will spend their entire childhood there
· set up clinics for education for family planning and to try to convince families that girls are just as valuable as girls
· doctors go to small villages door to door to tell villagers that girls are just as important
· when children do not have siblings, children are spoiled and fat
· Little Emperors
· Personal stories of adopted children and their American parents

Film use in classroom:

This movie/documentary was moving and real. The facts and figures speak for themselves and are shocking. In my Honors World Literature class and in my AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) elective class, we complete a short unit on personal culture and overcoming stereotypes. This film does a great job making the assertion that all human beings are valuable in every country and on every continent, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. It also gives some very real statistics that are consequences of our past behavior. Students grapple with the idea that each of their choices and actions have consequences. This showed that leaders and countries have a responsibility to their citizens to make responsible choices and to adapt to ever-changing conditions. Things in China today are not the same when Mao was in power, nor should they be. Times change, and people change, and with that, their needs and the needs of that particular region change. This 45 minute segment does a great job making connections from the children to the rest of the world, calling on them to not just sit idly by while the children in China pay the price of their ancestors and succumb to the ignorant and archaic belief that men are more valuable than women. If this continues, we could see real detriment come to China and also the the rest of the world. With 40 million men in China with no one to marry, the geography and environment in China will change, bringing with it change for the rest of the world, whether they want it or not.

Below is a short link to the documentary:

Anonymous (not verified)
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Message from nparmar

Thank you for sharing this film review. I will definitely check it out. Indian girls are similarly subjected to the same misfortunes as the two cultures share this lopsided preference for males. My cousin and his wife have three daughters and conducted all sorts of special prayers to have a son and the fourth child turned out to be a daughter too. My cousin has been living in the US since he was a teenager but this cultural beliefs still hold great sway. In fact, if India had adopted the one child policy of its neighbor to the East, girls would have already been eradicated from the population. This is an important topic to raise with our children and is relevant to all corners of the globe. Girls around the world are seen as burdens or commodities that must be fixed via genital mutilation or offloaded as brides to the highest bidder. Some of these practices seem so far removed from our lives in the West until we stop to consider the gender imbalance that still exists in the US in terms of wages, high level positions and childcare.

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Message from pwallace

Global population control is a hot topic among many high ranking world officials including UN delegates. It will be interesting to see in what direction this wind will blow. Kinda scary though.

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Message from pwallace

Also, being adopted myself, I can't help but feel it for these girls. They will be caught between cultures and have to deal with the many issues that being seperated from a family unit at a very young age can bring. It will also help shape their world view and put them in a unique position for viewing.

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Message from tbryant

I was originally drawn to this documentary because of the topic. When I realized Lisa Ling was the investigative reporter, it was a done deal. This documentary would be a great supplement to either AP human geography or sociology. Lisa Ling and National Geographic never fail to impress and captivate me. After watching it at home on Netflix, I watched it again with my two daughters. It was a powerful documentary that inspires conversation on some tough topics. I was surprised that women are being kidnapped and forced into marriage to men who can't find wives in provinces without many females. Also, another powerful image in the documentary is a class of young school kids---mostly all male. Will these boys have an opportunity to marry one day and if so, to whom? The long term effects of the one-child policy has great social implications.

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Message from vhaddad

(Sorry if this post appears twice. I sent it a little while ago, but can't find it. It must have vaporized into the ethers.)

Two unverified reports I read:
1). There is a lake a visitor came upon with a sign in front saying, "The drowning of girls is not permitted."
2). Supposedly female feticide is not uncommon in South Korea. They're cloning dogs and cats openly, and now, God knows, who else over there anyway.

So how can people do that? When I was 19, I spent a summer on a farm in Germany to get better at the language and learn the culture. I lived and worked with a very nice young family who, over 30 years later, I still correspond with. I befriended the family cat. The very nice mom of the farm told me the cat has kittens twice a year. I didn't see any kittens and asked where they are. "I drown them," she told me. My face must have immediately turned whiter than a sheet because she then smoothly explained, " long as their eyes aren't open, it's ok."
Wow, this is a family with a successful farm, a new marble-tiled home, and a government that provides them with two paid vacations abroad every year to have R&R and look at a few farms--plus a pretty cushy welfare system if something goes wrong. Can't she just take the cat to a vet to get it fixed for 50 Marks, I wondered.

I don't mean to digress, but the point is how even nice people (and maybe even I) can easily and very coldly justify something beyond horrid.