June 7, 2009

WSJ Report On Female Chinese Marriage Scam Fails To Describe ‘One-Child’ As Reason for Female Shortage

Filed under: Life-Based News,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:34 pm

ChinaOneChildGraphic0609Wall Street Journal reporter Mei Fong wrote a report Friday about how some families in China, perhaps with the help of criminals, are marrying off their daughters with no intent of having them honor their vows in order to keep the “bride price,” an amount a groom’s family typically pays the bride’s family.

This development is just one of many perverse side-effects of resulting from the Chinese Communist government’s one-child policy (image at top right was found at this web address), which has now been in place for three decades. Because of that policy and the country’s male-preferring culture, far more pre-born girls than boys have been aborted, leading to a serious male-female imbalance.

Despite the history, Fong somehow managed to get through her 26-paragraph report without mentioning the terms “abortion” or “one-child.”

Here are the relevant paragraphs, with euphemistic words in bold after the title:

It’s Cold Cash, Not Cold Feet, Motivating Runaway Brides in China
Surplus of Bachelors Spurs New Scam

With no eligible women in his village, Zhou Pin, 27 years old, thought he was lucky to find a pretty bride whom he met and married within a week, following the custom in rural China.

Ten days later, Cai Niucuo vanished, leaving behind her clothes and identity papers. She did not, however, leave behind her bride price: 38,000 yuan, or about $5,500, which Mr. Zhou and his family had scrimped and borrowed to put together.

When Mr. Zhou reported his missing spouse to authorities, he found his situation wasn’t unique. In the first two months of this year, Hanzhong town saw a record number of scams designed to extract high bride prices in a region with an oversupply of bachelors.

….. Thanks to its 30-year-old population-planning policy and customary preference for boys, China has one of the largest male-to-female ratios in the world. Using data from the 2005 China census — the most recent — a study published in last month’s British Journal of Medicine estimates there was a surplus of 32 million males under the age of 20 at the time the census was taken. That’s roughly the size of Canada’s population.

Now some of these men have reached marriageable age, resulting in intense competition for spouses, especially in rural areas. It also appears to have caused a sharp spike in bride prices and betrothal gifts. The higher prices are even found in big cities such as Tianjin.

….. In the 1980s, before the start of China’s economic reforms, cai li (bride price) sums were small.

….. In the 1990s, cai li prices rose to several thousand yuan (about $200 to $400 at today’s conversion rates), mirroring the country’s growing prosperity. But it was only starting in 2002-03 that villagers noticed a sharp spike in cai li prices, which shot up to between 6,000 to 10,000 yuan — several years’ worth of farming income.

Not coincidentally, this was also the period when the first generation of children since the family-planning policy was launched in 1979 started reaching marriageable age.

While there are no nationwide statistics, wedding scams have occurred before, but usually isolated cases. Mr. Tang, Xin’an’s Communist Party secretary, says he has never before seen such clusters of cases. Most of the 11 families involved lost an average of 40,000 yuan.

Fong used the correct term (“population-planning policy”) in the fourth excerpted paragraph, but in the second-last slipped into the clearly incorrect “family-planning policy.” Sadly, it’s the government, not families, that is doing the “planning” in China.

Those who are not already aware of China’s one-child policy, a human-rights abuse of the highest order, with its tragic three-decade toll of aborted females, will remain unaware of it after reading Fong’s report.

Additionally, the sub-headline and content references to the ”surplus” of 32 million males is more than a little twisted, given that the situation really involves a shortage of females, because so many more of them have been aborted.

It’s also odd that Fong chose a British study covering 20 years without attempting to extrapolate its full implied impact. As of 2003, other studies indicated that the shortage of females in the 24 years since the inception of the one-child policy was already 40 million. Projecting that 40 million over 5-6 more years pushes the number of females lost to government-enforced brutality to well over 45 million.

Given the realities of journalism in China, it may be that even a Wall Street Journal reporter such as Fong had to keep from mentioning “one-child” and “abortion” to stay in good graces with government censors. If so, that’s unfortunate, and demonstrates that the Internet censorship apparatus built by US-based high-tech companies for the Chinese government in early 2006 may be having a chilling effect — perhaps conscious, perhaps not — on establishment media reports coming out of that country. But if Fong held back from describing why the bride scams are occurring because of not wanting to mention certain supposedly words considered politically-charged words in the West, shame on her.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Column of the Day: George Will on How GM and Uncle Sam Have Failed

More perspective on what I wrote about here (“GM, Chrysler, and Uncle Sam Have Already Failed”) from the esteemed columnist:

The government’s $50 billion — so far — acquisition of the shadow of GM will injure, with unfair financial advantages, the surprisingly healthy U.S. auto company, Ford. Of course, the government does not intend that injury, any more than it intended to cause protests in Mexico over the high price of corn tortillas, a result of Washington’s mandate that Americans burn corn (ethanol) in their cars.

Washington’s “rescue” of GM began because GM is “too big to fail,” and bankruptcy is (well, was) “unthinkable.” Big? GM’s market capitalization, $375.8 million on Wednesday, is about the size of California Pizza Kitchen’s ($340 million) — is it too big to fail? — and one-eleventh that of Harley-Davidson ($4.3 billion). Fail? If GM has not already failed, New Coke was a success.

The administration is determined to prop up GM as a jobs program for the UAW and Midwestern states rich in electoral votes. This frenzy will intensify as the administration’s decisions deepen the debacle.

Even the “jobs program” aspect of the government’s bailout effort has failed. Ask workers at five Chrysler plants in four states, who were told by Obama, administration officials, and the company executives that their jobs were safe just before its bankruptcy filing, only to see them saw them disappear when the filing took place, how much of a success it has been. Also ask GM workers at 14 plants to be closed in the wake of that bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Ford’s capitalization as of Friday’s close was $17.8 billion — almost exactly 50 times GM’s. Those investment gurus at Uncle Sam’s place really know how to pick ‘em.

If it weren’t for the Obama Fear Factor, Ford might be worth double what it currently is.

GM, Chrysler, and Uncle Sam Have Already Failed

Note: This was originally posted at Pajamas Media, and teased here at BizzyBlog, on Friday morning.

_______________

No amount of government-supplied capital can change that.

_______________

By the time it “collapsed into the government’s arms” on the morning of June 1, the bankruptcy filing by General Motors surprised no one. In retrospect, given our pathetic leadership, it’s surprising how many thought that it, or Chrysler’s filing the previous month, could have been avoided.

Now, amidst all the happy-talk about how the two companies will succeed once they emerge from bankruptcy, there’s even doubt about that. James Pethokoukis, blogging at Reuters, tells us that former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich thinks that the GM bankruptcy may only be “slowing down the death process so communities and workers and the economy have more time to adjust to GM’s demise.” If that’s true of GM, you can forget about a post-bankruptcy Chrysler having any legitimate viability except as a consumer of taxpayer cash.

Even the companies’ emergence from bankruptcy is, as of this writing, far from certain. Having ridden roughshod over the first-lien rights of secured Chrysler creditors, the vast majority of whom were intimidated into settling for 29 cents on the dollar, the government finds itself still having to deal with a June 5 court hearing in federal appellate court, where recalcitrant Indiana pension funds could conceivably stop Chrysler’s sale to Fiat. There is also a suit by terminated Chrysler dealers that appears to at least have some disruptive potential. A tight deal completion deadline could mean that court appeals by the losing sides in either case, if not promptly heard, would enable Fiat to walk away and completely scuttle the deal.

Thanks to the government’s heavy-handed treatment of GM’s unsecured creditors, that bankruptcy could face similar potential hurdles in the coming months.

But regardless of the bankruptcy-reemergence outcomes at these two former American icons, all of the key players involved –- the companies’ senior managements, the United Auto Workers union, and the government –- have failed miserably, both in the run-up to the mid-December bailout and during the 5-1/2 months that have since transpired.

All three groups, dreading the possibility that vehicle buyers would avoid doing business with bankrupt companies, failed to consider the possibility, long since borne out, that they would more decisively shun the beneficiaries of government bailouts, for reasons both practical (doubts about warranties and repairs) and philosophical (resentment over government involvement in giving money to, and then running, supposedly private companies).

In the first five months of 2009, GM’s reported year-over-year monthly unit sales declines have averaged almost 42%. Chrysler’s average drops have been almost 47%. The companies’ four biggest competitors -– Ford, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan -– have suffered far smaller average declines. Ford actually reported higher worldwide revenue in the first quarter than GM for the first time in over 80 years, moving from 4% behind GM to 11% ahead of it in one quarter, despite operating for a while earlier this year under a mistaken public assumption that the government was bailing out the entire domestic auto industry. Having recovered from a nearly fatal bout of political correctness of its own a bit more than a year ago, Ford appears poised to dramatically increase its top-line lead over GM.

The companies’ senior managements naively assumed that a business-hostile administration run by the most radical president in American history would resist the urge to intervene and then take over their operations.

The United Auto Workers union, as it has for at least two decades, utterly failed at what should have been its prime directive: to preserve workers’ jobs. In the previous quarter-century, as Japanese and other competitors continued to take market share from the Big Three, the union chose to preserve the artificially high wages and benefits of its senior members at the expense of the less experienced. Then, during post-bailout crunch time, union President Ron Gettelfinger balked at potential concessions for far too long. It’s also likely that he has not given back as much as he has claimed. This, and the post-bailout sales declines noted earlier, have forced the companies to idle and ultimately close more plants than they otherwise might have. Immediately after its bankruptcy filing Chrysler closed five plants it had no expressed intention of shuttering back in February. GM will be closing at least a dozen plants.

But even beyond its failure to gauge the negative sales fallout from statist involvement, it is the government — particularly the Democratic Party that has held most of its levers — that bears the lion’s share of the blame for GM’s and Chrysler’s final march from being on the brink a year ago to flat on their faces now. That’s because it is they who brought us the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy beginning in June of last year.

Specifically:

  • They are the ones who struck fear into the hearts of car buyers by telling everyone they would refuse to exploit our God-given fossil fuel resources regardless of the circumstances or consequences.
  • They are the ones who promised punitive increases of 15% or more in marginal tax rates on our most productive people — many of whom tend to buy cars –- in the name of redistributing relative pittances to everyone else.
  • It is their party’s decades-long romance with lending mortgage money to unqualified borrowers that led to the multibillion-dollar implosions at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and to the resulting wreckage at other financial institutions.
  • And finally, at crunch time, it is they who failed to lead the country back from their recession earlier this year by enacting an ineffective, time-delayed “stimulus” instead of broad-based tax cuts.
Mama always said that life isn’t fair, and she was right — U.S. taxpayers have been underwriting all of this, and will continue to.

Positivity: Massive pro-life demonstration being organized in Spain

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Madrid:

Jun 4, 2009, 11:53 pm

More than 40 civic organizations have joined together to organize a massive pro-life demonstration in support of pregnant women and in opposition to the government’s proposal to reform Spain’s abortion laws. The demonstration is set to take place on October 17 in Madrid.

The spokesperson for the organization Right to Life, Gador Joya, told reporters this week that the pro-life community intends to make its voice heard and to urge the government to turn back from the “most violent and radical abortion program in Europe.”

“Our more than 100,000 volunteers will do their best to make the October demonstration another success for an independent and free society in the face of imposition and abuse by our leaders,” she said.

….. This will be the second massive demonstration against abortion, after the March for Life that took place on March 29, when 500,000 took to the streets of Madrid to protest in support of human life. Eighty seven other marches took place simultaneously across Spain and Latin America.

Go here for the full story.