China home to 18 million surplus men - report

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BEIJING, Nov 13 (Reuters) China has 18 million more men of marriageable age than women, the result of sex-selective abortions in a country that has traditionally placed more value on boys, state media reported today.

China has about 119 boys born for every 100 girls, but that figure rises to about 122 in rural areas, Xinhua news agency quoted Zhang Weiqing, director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, as saying.

Ultrasound checks to determine the sex of babies are illegal in China but many expectant parents pay for the service, a habit Zhang said the government would continue to crack down on.

China has also warned that the gender imbalance -- the surplus of men is forecast to swell to 30 million by 2020 -- could raise the risks of anti-social and violent behaviour among men who cannot find wives, contributing to instability.

REUTERS SKB BD1930

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