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Hebei Cracks Down on Gender Selection
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Authorities in north China's Hebei Province said they had closed more than 200 medical facilities following a crackdown on unauthorized abortions and services to tell the gender of a fetus.

The 2000 national census showed that in Hebei for every 100 newborn girls, there were 118.46 boys. In some areas, the ratio was 134. The worldwide figure is between 102 and 107.

Officials said most of the couples who had used the illegal services were those who had been authorized to have a second baby.

The couples had paid for services to tell the gender of their fetus and then sought an abortion after discovering it to be a girl, officials said.

The country bans abortions for fetuses more than 14 weeks old.

Many Chinese couples, especially those in the rural areas, prefer boys.

Officials said the crackdown solved 848 cases of illegal abortion and gender services involving 745 hospitals and medical facilities.

Authorities shut 201 medical facilities and fined another 374, according to media reports, citing the provincial People's Congress. Three medical workers allegedly involved in violating the family planning rules were handed over to prosecutors.

(Shanghai Daily May 31, 2006)

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