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Monday, June 26, 2006

China lawmakers reject plan to ban sex-selective abortion
Joe Shaulis at 3:12 PM ET

[JURIST] A committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) [official website; government backgrounder], the legislature of China [JURIST news archive], has decided not to criminalize sex-selective abortions [Wikipedia backgrounder], the state-run China Daily reported Monday. A proposed amendment to the criminal law would have punished anyone convicted of involvement in sex-selective abortions with a three-year prison sentence. Zhou Kunren, vice-chairman of the law subcommittee of the NPC's Standing Committee, told the newspaper that lawmakers could not agree on the amendment. Supporters of the measure are concerned about the disproportionate number of baby boys born in China – 119 per 100 girls – while opponents argue that women have a right to know the sex of a fetus. Earlier this month, the province of Hebei closed more than 200 clinics [Xinhua report] that officials said identified and aborted female fetuses.

The Standing Committee [official backgrounder], which meets between the NPC's plenary sessions, began a six-day session on Saturday. China Daily has more. The Financial Times has additional coverage from Beijing.

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