Fe­tus gen­der test­ing kits seized in Beijing

Coun­try ex­pected to achieve goal of bal­anced sex ra­tio at birth by 2030

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By WANG XIAODONG and SHAN JUAN Xin­hua con­trib­uted to this story. Con­tact the writ­ers at wangx­i­aodong@chi­nadaily.

Au­thor­i­ties in Beijing said on Wed­nes­day they have seized fe­tus gen­der test­ing kits sent from the United States among parcels mailed to Chi­nese con­sumers who placed or­ders on an e-com­merce plat­form, the first time such prod­ucts have been found dur­ing en­try-exit in­spec­tion in Beijing.

The Beijing En­try-Exit In­spec­tion and Quar­an­tine Bureau said that last week they in­ter­cepted three packs of such test­ing kits, which are banned in China ex­cept for use in med­i­cal re­search.

The bureau said it will de­stroy the test­ing kits and demand the on­line shop­ping plat­form re­frain from mail­ing such items to China.

The test­ing kits can al­legedly pre­dict the sex of a fe­tus in the first five to 10 weeks of preg­nancy through a few drops of urine, the state­ment said, quot­ing the prod­uct’s user guide. When com­ing into con­tact with the urine, the test pa­per turns green for a male fe­tus and or­ange for a fe­male fe­tus, it said, adding that the first uri­na­tion of the day should be used for test­ing.

The bureau de­clined to give fur­ther de­tails about the kits, such as who bought them and where they were head­ing to.

Sim­i­lar prod­ucts have also been seized in other parts of China. Last year, four boxes of sim­i­lar prod­ucts were seized by au­thor­i­ties in South­west China’s Chongqing mu­nic­i­pal­ity, China News Ser­vice re­ported.

Pre­na­tal gen­der test­ing for non­med­i­cal rea­sons is banned in China, out of fears that pre­dict­ing the sex of the fe­tuses might lead to an in­creased num­ber of abor­tions and neg­a­tively im­pact the gen­der im­bal­ance among new­borns.

In­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions that per­form med­i­cally un­nec­es­sary pre­na­tal gen­der pre­dic­tions or sex-se­lec­tive abor­tions will be fined up to 30,000 yuan ($4,400) and any fees paid for the il­le­gal screen­ings and abor­tions will be con­fis­cated, ac­cord­ing to a re­vised reg­u­la­tion that took ef­fect in May.

The reg­u­la­tion, jointly is­sued by the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion for In­dus­try and Com­merce, and the China Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion, aims to tackle China’s gen­der im­bal­ance, a re­sult of pre­birth gen­der pre­dic­tion and sex-se­lec­tive abor­tions driven by a cul­tural pref­er­ence for sons. Last year, China’s sex ra­tio, which rep­re­sents the num­ber of men for every 100 women, stood at 113.5, a ninth con­sec­u­tive yearly de­crease. A nor­mal range is be­tween 103 and 107. Goals by the lat­est gov­ern­ment health guide­lines in­clude a bal­anced sex ra­tio at birth by 2030.

Qiao Xiaochun, a pop­u­la­tion sci­en­tist at Pek­ing Univer­sity, said the lat­est uni­ver­sal two-child pol­icy, which took ef­fect at the be­gin­ning of the year, would grad­u­ally help re­dress the skewed gen­der ra­tio.

“As fam­ily plan­ning poli­cies have been eased in the coun­try, a pref­er­ence for boys is ex­pected to change as well,” Qiao said, adding that it would take time for the sex ra­tio to reach a nor­mal range.

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