July 29, 2005


China's One-Child Policy Tips Scales: 25 Million Men Could Remain Single (Zenit.org, 7/29/05)

China might soon become the most populous country of bachelors, reported a missionary of the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions.

Father Giancarlo Politi, speaking on Vatican Radio, said that the one-child policy, instituted to "maintain control over the population, so that it wouldn't grow enormously," favors the birth of boys among Chinese families.

"There is still a need to seek by all means to have at least a male child," said the priest.

As a result of the policy, instituted in 1979, an estimated 25 million young men in China might remain single for life.

This is why the PRC will start a war.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 29, 2005 11:16 PM

"Be fruitful and multiply." Not "subtract".

We say "It's my body." They say "Your body is the State's." It's neither.

Posted by: Noel at July 29, 2005 11:46 PM

Unless we get creative. Andrew Sullivan for Ambassador to China, says I.

Posted by: joe shropshire at July 30, 2005 12:04 AM

Twenty-five million priests would sure eliminate the Church's shortage in the area...

Posted by: b at July 30, 2005 12:20 AM

Time for the salt peter bomb.

Posted by: ratbert at July 30, 2005 12:45 AM

Twenty-five million equals one big target. We're not fighting with pitchforks, you know. Numbers are merely a hinderance now.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 30, 2005 1:01 AM

25 million bachelors seems like quite a lot, at first glance, but it only means that ONE out of twenty-five men in China probably won't find a mate - hardly a crisis in need of a final solution.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 30, 2005 2:18 AM

Nobody gets married in a secular state anymore -- especially one that hates the idea of children. Just share the women around. I'm sure they'll be happy to serve god, the state :-)

Reminds me of the James Bond movie where slick jimmy was seducing a woman and asked her to do it "for her country".

Posted by: Randall Voth at July 30, 2005 6:39 AM


It always has.

Posted by: oj at July 30, 2005 7:21 AM


It only take a few to cause a lot of trouble.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at July 30, 2005 8:22 AM

Michael, the problem isn't so much the absolute percentage (4%) of unmarried males out of the entire population.

Rather, the problem is that the younger the generation, the larger the percentage of excess males will be in that generation. For example, for the generation that's just being born now, one of every six (over 15%!) males will not have a prospective female mate in his age group.

This is historically unprecedented in any human society. No one has to worry about a bunch of decrepit old bachelors. But China's bachelors wouldn't be old. The 25 million unmarried males will be young and physically vigorous, and are going to be concentrated overwhelmingly in those age groups that generate massive levels of violence and crime.

Thank you, Chinese Communist Party, for making yet another brilliant decision in population planning. Without your wise guidance, where would China be?

Posted by: X at July 30, 2005 8:41 AM

wouldn't this situation be just as likely to result in some kind of internal fighting, as external fighting ? also, it would also be defused by a sizeable sex industry; young men want sex more than they want a wife.

Posted by: cjm at July 30, 2005 10:47 AM

Robert Heinlein explored the phenomenon in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. His solution was a combination of polyandry and matriarchy.

Posted by: Gideon at July 30, 2005 10:57 AM

Two words: Stepford Wives.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at July 30, 2005 11:36 AM


They are going to have to encourage large scale emigration to other countries. Their economy won't be able to absorb that population, much less pay for them when they hit Social Security age. The problem here is that their entire productive cadre would happily move to the West or even the Near Far East like Taiwan or Singapore in a heartbeat, leaving only the less intelligent,less able behind.

My guess is that you will see a push to effectively, if not legally, occupy Siberia, which is depopulating. Lebensraum can defuse the situation for at least a while.

Another option might be the importation of foreign brides, but, given traditional Chinese xenophobia, I don't know how the society would respond to an influx of Thai or Filipino women, or women from an economically collapsed DPRK.

I haven't seen anything from you in a while, X, and let me say it's a pleasure reading your stuff again. Don't be such a stranger, OK?

Posted by: bart at July 30, 2005 11:43 AM

cjm: There's a great solution, an increased sex trade. It will do wonders for women and children, won't it? More incentive to enslave people (women and children, that is) into the sex trade since the financial incentives will be greater. Ooooh, I can hardly wait.

Posted by: Buttercup at July 30, 2005 11:50 AM

buttercup: i wasn't advocating anything, just exploring what might happen as a result of this imbalance. what do you think happens to women and children (not to mention men) when a war breaks out ? how's the view from that high horse you are on ?

Posted by: cjm at July 30, 2005 12:55 PM

Robert, the Japanese are already on it.

Do you see the cute Pretty in Pink Robot that was supposed to be for elder care, but I dare say it could be adapted for other uses.

Posted by: erp at July 30, 2005 1:58 PM

cjm, yes, I agree this situation could generate internal fighting.

For the current dictatorship, that's part of the problem. When I lived in China, which was before Tiananmen, the younger generation tolerated the Party because economic prosperity seemed to be right around the corner and everyone wanted to become rich. The older generation accepted the Party because they had lived through the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, and were really afraid that if the Party disappeared as an enforcer of internal peace, China would fall into chaos again.

Note that even then, no one believed anymore in Marxism-Leninism or Maoist thought. Also note how fragile this social contract is. One of the great dangers for the regime is that 25 million aggressive young bachelors would create tremendous pressures that threaten both social peace and economic hopes.

Consider the history of late 19th century Chinese America. Back then, there were tens of thousands of young Chinese men who were living in America, but who weren't able or allowed to bring in females from China to establish stable families. Under those oppressive conditions of a bachelor society, what emerged was not the "model minority" that everybody is familiar with today, but a very different kind of stereotype: the opium eating Chinese, the deadly gangsters of the Tong Wars, the Yellow Peril. It was a society where the killers and hatchet men of rival Tongs ruled the streets and battled each other for supremacy in America's Chinatowns. The old Chinatowns ruled by the Tongs were not bastions of wealth. It wasn't until the 1960s, when America's immigration laws were changed and Chinatown's bachelor societies finally faded away, that Chinatowns began to become the prosperous and bustling places they are today.

So here's one possible scenario.

Let's imagine the same social phenomenon replicating itself in China on a scale that is a thousand times more immense. China is already heavily infiltrated by powerful criminal syndicates from Hong Kong and Taiwan that would provide a ready home for many of the 25 million males who are unable to have their own more orthodox families. With such large reserves of manpower, gang wars and criminal power in China would dwarf any in history.

Needless to say, the resulting blow from this internal fighting and chaos to China's domestic peace and economic propects would be enormous. Goodbye, social contract. Goodbye, economic prosperity. Few smart businessmen would want to invest in a China that would be more like the lawless Russia of today than anything else. Goodbye, social pact. Goodbye, Communist Party.

To avoid this, a desperate CCP could opt for several choices, all of which would be disastrous for China and the world. The Party could reach an alliance with China's underworld, which would make China even more of a criminal state than it already is. The Party could try to crush the syndicates, which might very well lead to rebellion or civil war. Or the Party could make oj's choice: war.

Posted by: X at July 30, 2005 3:49 PM

bart, thanks for your kind comments.

Posted by: X at July 30, 2005 4:53 PM

Wow, men will just not stop until they destroy all women. Do men even have souls?

Posted by: erf at August 1, 2005 7:56 PM

"Wow, men will just not stop until they destroy all women. Do men even have souls?"

No. They do however have hormones.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 2, 2005 12:45 AM

don't you mean "womyn" ? leftist "men" don't have souls, but then neither do leftist "women".

Posted by: cjm at August 2, 2005 3:00 AM