China property values cause families to eschew tradition

Sunday, January 13th, 2013 By

A group of dirty Chinese men.

China's economy has caused families to stop favoring sons over daughters. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/Drive-By Times)

China’s property values are currently in the stratosphere. Combine that with stagnant wages, and it’s easy to see that the “Land of Unwanted Daughters” has been pushed to the precipice, reports CNBC. Harsh economic reality has forced many families to abandon the tradition of favoring sons over daughters. The nation’s “One Child” policy has skewed toward female children so that families are not subject to the traditional burden of buying the of-age male child a dowry flat to make him suitable for marriage.

China wants daughters, families want economic relief

Considering current property values, China’s housing bubble may be near to bursting. But the current economic crunch is dramatic enough that it is forcing families to go against a centuries-old Chinese tradition of favoring boys. Female child abandonment, abortion and infanticide weren’t enough to force policy change, but the almighty yuan may soon awaken the sleeping dragon.

‘A daughter is a warm jacket’

Modern urbanization has proven itself more than capable of putting sandpaper to the silken dreams of having a male heir to work the fields. Now, an increasing number of Chinese families consider the cost benefit of having a female child too important to ignore. These same families look to take advantage of the supposedly superior empathy a female child can offer when it comes time to care for aging parents, writes CNBC.

“A daughter is a warm jacket for a mother when she is old,” Shanxi province native Zhang Yun told the Chinese press.

Caving to social pressure won’t pay the bills

Cultural traditions forged over the fire of centuries past can be difficult to break, but China must face the harsh realities of a modern world. As one unwanted 27-year-old daughter named Zhang Yun told CNBC, “If you gave birth to a girl, the whole family would look down on you.” Yun went through her entire childhood being completely ignored by her paternal grandmother because she was a girl.

Such treatment can breed more resentment than any respect it fosters for ancient ways. Such is the case with Zhang Yun. “That could be one reason I want a girl now,” she said.



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