Sexual Politics

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 October, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 October, 1993, 12:00am

THERE are going to be some dramatic changes in China because of the one child per family policy. There will be fewer and fewer females and an awful lot of lonely men.

This is partly because peasants are continuing to kill female infants soon after birth, which will affect the balance of power between the sexes. The time will come when women will be able to pick and choose from a large pool of available men.

And that will not be the only result of the policy. There are many other implications.

The policy itself is a good one. The problem is ignorance on the part of parents.

There is a generation growing up in China that has become used to having what it wants and getting its own way. Chinese parents have no idea about how to bring up children - they spoil them rotten and only give them attention through money and material things.

You might call me an extremist, but I believe that couples should pass an examination before they are allowed to have a child. Any couple can have children, but then what? Chinese society does not allow youngsters to exercise their own free will. Parents spoil them and manipulate them because they expect their offspring to fulfil their own unfulfilled ambitions.

I saw a television programme in China on CTV, the nationwide government channel. The programme contained a good example of how some children react to the family. Two cousins, a 14-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, disappeared during a family visit. Theytook a couple of bicycles and eloped. A year later there had still been no word from them.

Both sets of parents left their jobs to search for the couple. They advertised on television and in provincial newspapers. They appealed to anyone with information to get in touch, but there was no response. Local mayors tried to help and the parents searched from town to town, walking the streets all day. Still nothing.

The report showed what was supposed to be a birthday celebration for one of the missing pair. The family had prepared cake and brought gifts; they sat in the house waiting pathetically for the child to turn up.

It didn't happen, and by the end of the 'party' relatives were crying and moaning as if they were at a funeral.

Both families were quite well-off. One mother said she had put half her monthly salary in her child's savings box.

The programme finished with shots of the two fathers leaving home carrying two huge suitcases. They were going to follow up a lead - someone had said they had seen a young couple answering the descriptions.

And what was in those suitcases? Gifts and food for the missing teenagers. Can you believe it? No wonder they left home. No doubt they could not stand their parents' smothering attention.

Tragically, some people end up paying the penalty for their over-weaning stupidity.

Sex counsellor Pamela Pak shot to fame in 1986 when she started a live midnight phone-in advice show on Hong Kong radio. She recently started a live weekly phone-in show in Beijing, which the authorities soon insisted be taped in advance.