City in the Chips

City in the Chips

some estimates, the number of "missing girls" (reflected in the abnormally high ratio of male infants to female ones) has been growing more than one million a year. In some regions of the country, Kay Johnson, a professor of Asian studies and politics at Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass., writes in Population and Development Review (Mar. 1996), "there is mounting evidence" that female infants are being abandoned by the tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, each year.0riginally,...

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financial and other penalties, continue to bear more than the officially permitted one or two children, hoping to produce a son to carry on the family line and to provide security in old age. As a result of the regime’s draconian policy, girls (as well as handicapped infants) are increasingly "thrown away," through sex-selective abortion, abandonment, and infanticide. By some estimates, the number of "missing girls" (reflected in the abnormally high ratio of male infants to female ones) has been growing by more than one million a year. In some regions of the country, Kay Johnson, a professor of Asian studies and politics at Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass., writes in Population and Development Review (Mar. 1996), "there is mounting evidence" that female infants are being abandoned by the tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, each year.

Originally, in 1979, China’s communist regime adopted a policy of limiting births to one per family. Unless couples obtained an official permit, they were not supposed to have a child, and a woman who became pregnant without a permit was obliged to have an abortion. Despite extensive efforts at enforcement, overall compliance with the policy was low. During the late 1980s, the regime slightly relaxed the formal policy, permitting rural couples whose first child was a girl to have a second child. At the same time, however, the regime stepped up enforcement. In Hunan Province, in south-central China, Johnson says, the local cadres charged with implementing the unpopular decrees were caught between the strong desires of their fellow villagers and the stern demands of the authorities. The cadres often coped by turning a blind eye to abandonment of infant girls, and simply required that couples end up with no more than the authorized number of children.

Among the abandoned infants housed in state-run welfare centers, Johnson notes, death rates are high: more than 40 percent in some of the major orphanages and as high as 80 percent in some of the smaller, more remote, or more poorly equipped ones. But, she points out, "even a well-equipped and devoted orphanage staff would face a daunting task." Many of the children "are in critical condition when they arrive, due to exposure, dehydration, malnutrition," and other afflictions. "It is likely that many abandoned infants die before they are recovered or that they are not recovered at all."

The "dying rooms" (as a 1995 British TV documentary termed the orphanages) are not "just a matter of bad institutional management, as some Western observers have asserted," says John S. Aird, a former U.S. Census Bureau senior research specialist on China and author of Slaughter of the Innocents: Coercive Birth Control in China (1990). "The real problem," he declares in the American Enterprise (Mar.–Apr. 1996), "is the Chinese government’s attitude toward the orphans. China’s leaders consider these children ‘surplus’ population. . . . To these authorities, the death of orphans is nothing to regret, because it furthers their objective of reduced population growth."

The current birth control crackdown, launched in 1991, is regarded in Beijing as highly successful. Last October, it was announced that China’s population growth was actually below the state targets from 1991 through 1994 and could be as much as 15 million persons below target by the end of 1995. "Still," Aird notes, "the authorities warn the local cadres not to relax their family planning enforcement."


City in the Chips

"Dateline Bangalore: Third World Technopolis" by John Stremlau, in Foreign Policy (Spring 1996), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2400 N St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037–1153.

During the British Raj, the south Indian ware industry, the onetime "Pensioner’s city of Bangalore, located on a cool, lush Paradise" has become the subcontinent’s plateau 3,000 feet above sea level, a haven "Silicon City," reports Stremlau, a staff advisfrom the torrid coastal cities, was a favorite er at the Carnegie Commission on Preventretirement spot for senior colonial officers. ing Deadly Conflict. Today, with a growing population of nearly Citibank, American Express, General five million and a booming computer soft-Electric, IBM, Texas Instruments, Hewlett

136 WQ Summer 1996


Packard, and Compaq, he writes, are only some of the U.S. companies that are using software developed and tailored to their needs in Bangalore and other Indian cities. Since 1990, India’s annual software exports have jumped 53 percent, reaching $500 million in fiscal 1994–95.

Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister (1947–64), envisioned Bangalore as India’s "City of the Future," Stremlau notes. "For more than four decades, India’s central government invested lavishly in the building of Bangalore’s civilian science and technology infrastructure as well as the nation’s most sensitive and advanced military and space research facilities." Today, the city boasts three universities, 14 engineering colleges, 47 polytechnic schools, and an assortment of research institutes.

But during those same decades, in an effort to escape the legacy of colonialism, India shunned foreign trade and investment. That changed in 1991, when Prime Minister

P. V. Narasimha Rao’s government introduced free-market reforms and decided to participate more fully in the world economy. Bangalore’s "sudden market-driven success" since then, Stremlau says, is regarded by Indian economists as proof that this still predominantly agricultural country of one billion people "can catapult to the forefront of the 21st century global economy."

In the meantime, however, success has brought problems to Bangalore. Population growth has strained roads and basic public services. Many high-tech firms are creating "their own self-contained communities called technology parks," Stremlau says.

Another problem, he believes, is the grow-



The Bangalore way.



ing gap between rich and poor. Experienced computer professionals in Bangalore often earn in the neighborhood of $10,000 a year—"a princely salary" in a city with a per capita annual income of only $404.




The Agony of Cuba

"Cuba’s Long Reform" by Wayne S. Smith, in Foreign Affairs (Mar.–Apr. 1996), 58 E. 68th St., New York, N.Y. 10021; "You Can’t Get There from Here" by Ann Wroe, in The Economist (Apr. 6, 1996), 25 St. James’s St., London SW1A 1HG; "Fidel and Mr. Smith" by Charles Lane, in The New Republic (Mar. 25, 1996), 1220 19th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.


Ever since Cuban dictator Fidel Castro came to power 37 years ago, some Americans and others have blamed his misdeeds on the United States, which, by failing to support his revolution, supposedly drove him to embrace communism. Now that his great patron, the Soviet Union, is gone, Castro’s Cuba is in dire straits, and once again, some analysts are faulting the United States, this time for prolonging its 34-year-old embargo on trade with Cuba.

Smith, a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University who served in the U.S.

embassy in Havana from 1958 to ’61 and was chief of the U.S. Interest Section there from 1979 to ’82, contends that the embargo is counterproductive and should be lifted. "Castro’s departure or ouster is unlikely to occur soon, and it is probably undesirable," he says. The dictator (who turns 70 in August) "continues to enjoy considerable popular support," has the army and security forces on his side, and is reluctantly making Cuba "an economy that mixes private enterprise with a continued role for the state and a far more open political system."


Periodicals 137



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