Sinophiles will want to read this book review on the history behind China’s (and to some extent India’s) ever-widening gender gap, and why one of the writers actually thinks the problem could lead to war.
In a new book, Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population (MIT Press), Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea M. den Boer warn that the spread of sex selection is giving rise to a generation of restless young men who will not find mates. History, biology, and sociology all suggest that these “surplus males” will generate high levels of crime and social disorder, the authors say. Even worse, they continue, is the possibility that the governments of India and China will build up huge armies in order to provide a safety valve for the young men’s aggressive energies.
“In 2020 it may seem to China that it would be worth it to have a very bloody battle in which a lot of their young men could die in some glorious cause,” says Ms. Hudson, a professor of political science at Brigham Young University.
It presents differing viewpoints on how China’s going to deal with so many “surplus males,” but it’s obvious that for now, no one really knows.
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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.