CHINA is to ban the use in hospitals of ultrasound scanners, the devices used to determine the sex of a an unborn child, a senior official has revealed.
The move follows the growing practice of pregnant women having ultrasound tests to discover if they are going to have a girl, and then having an abortion.
Sons are greatly desired in Chinese society.
''Ultrasonic scanners are now used widely in China to identify the sex of a foetus. We are banning these scanners in hospitals, and want strict control on their use for sex identification,'' Peng Peiyun, head of the State Family Planning Commission, toldthe Sunday Morning Post.
''Great efforts are being made to popularise the idea that boys and girls are equal.'' Many hospitals provide the scanning service to whoever can pay for it, and private businessmen have begun buying the machines and offering the service at a price.
Ms Peng, 63, is the only female state counsellor, and is the highest-ranked female Chinese Government official. See Page 8