Vietnam has too many boys: state media

Vietnamese authorities are concerned that there are 113 boys for every 100 girls in Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnamese authorities are concerned that there are 113 boys for every 100 girls in Ho Chi Minh City

May 12, 2009

HANOI (AFP) — Officials in Vietnam have warned that too many boys are being born and said the country should learn a lesson from its Asian neighbours, state media reported on Tuesday.

Vietnam produces 112 boys for every 100 girls, a gender imbalance that will leave about three million men with difficulty finding wives by 2030 if it continues, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan told an online conference of officials, according to Vietnam News Agency.

He said Vietnam could learn big lessons about gender imbalance from China, Japan and South Korea, and asked people’s committees to raise awareness through the mass media.

“Strengthening the dissemination of news and information on the issue is necessary,” Nhan said.

In the country’s commercial capital, Ho Chi Minh City, there are 113 boys for every 100 girls, said Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee, the local government body.

According to Vietnam News Agency, Ha said many books, newspapers and the Internet provide information on prenatal gender selection, violating state policy on minimising prenatal gender inequality.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Ba Thuy was quoted as saying the number of families with three children has continued to rise and gender imbalance is becoming very apparent.

In late 2007 a UN Population Fund report highlighted “growing concern that the sex ratio at birth is becoming unbalanced in Vietnam”, while the international ratio at birth was about 105 boys for every 100 girls.

Reasons for Vietnam’s unbalanced sex ratio included pressure to adhere to a two-child policy, a preference for sons, and ready availability of ultrasound and abortion, said the report.

Although Vietnam in 2003 banned foetal sex selection, many doctors tell parents-to-be if they are expecting a boy or girl.

Men in Vietnam have traditionally carried on the family lineage, inherited homes and land, cared for elderly parents and overseen funerals and ancestor worship rituals.

China, where most parents are banned from having more than one child, has faced a marriage squeeze.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iGdgbbjmHhVj0YYRDaVy_bRFiSzw

Vietnam requires children to wear helmets

AP – Saturday, April 18

HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnam has closed a legal loophole that exempts children from wearing motorcycle helmets when they ride with their parents, state media reported Saturday.

Under a revised Transport Law that will take effect July 1, adults transporting children under age of 16 without a helmet will be fined up to 200,000 dong ($11), the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper said.

Currently, children under 16 or the adults responsible for them cannot be penalized if youngsters riding as passengers do not wear a helmet.

The World Health Organization has urged the Vietnamese government to amend the law to include penalties.

The loophole had weakened a generally successful helmet law that Vietnam enacted in 2007.

Motorbikes are the main mode of transport in Vietnam, with 24 million of them in a country of 87 million people. The WHO has said that even with the exemption for children, the helmet law has helped to save more than 1,000 lives per year since it was introduced.

Vietnam recorded 13,000 road deaths last year, one of the world’s highest rates per 100,000 with the majority of accidents involving motorbikes.

http://ph.news.yahoo.com/ap/20090418/tap-as-vietnam-helmet-law-9a7ed42.html

Vietnam plans return to two-child law

Ian MacKinnon, south-east Asia correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Saturday November 22 2008 00.01 GMT

Faced with a baby boom, Vietnam is planning a crackdown to stop couples having more than two children. The communist government in the country of 86 million – two-thirds of whom are under 35 – fears a new population explosion will knock its economic growth off track and strain health and education services.

A two-child policy introduced in the 1960s was scrapped in 2003, though the one-party state’s rulers continued to encourage couples to have small families so they could adequately care for them.

But a spike in births this year to couples who already have two children caused alarm. In the first nine months, 93,000 babies were born to these couples, a 10% rise on last year.

This week the cabinet agreed a draft order for the two-child rule that will be voted on by the national assembly. No sanctions for breaking the rule were outlined, but in the past families faced pay cuts and penalties at work. Party members could be reprimanded or expelled.

However, Tran Thi Van, of the UN Population Fund, warned: “In Vietnam now, life expectancy is rising, the fertility rate is decreasing, and in the next 20 years many people will be in the senior group. If there’s not a sufficient labour force as the population is ageing, the country will face a lot of problems.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/22/vietnam-population

Overpopulated Vietnam urges parents to stop at two

Hanoi – Facing a population boom, the government of Vietnam has proposed limiting families to two children by punishing bureaucrats who fail to keep the numbers down, a senior government official said Friday. “We are very determined to limit couples on having a third child,” said Nguyen Ba Thuy, Deputy Minister of Health, specializing in population issues and family planning.

Vietnam has an estimated population of 86 million, with some parts of the country among the most densely populated in Asia.

Thuy said Vietnam’s birth rate is set to jump as the number of women of reproductive age is at an all-time high. Officials worry that a baby boom will jeopardize the country’s development efforts.

Under current law, government employees who have a third child are denied raises and promotions. According to the draft ordinance, families that have more than two children will not face additional sanctions. Instead, Communist Party members and civil servants who are charged with enforcing the law will be reprimanded.

The draft does not specify what kind of punishments officials could face.

This week, Vietnam’s health ministry reported that 58 out of 64 provinces failed to reduce the birthrate by the government’s target of 0.3 per cent in the first nine months of 2008. The number of families with a third child was 10 per cent higher than the previous year.

The Communist government is taking the blame for the failure to reign in the birthrate, stating that population growth has been ignored by the Party, as well as state and local authorities. Not enough has been done to educate the public on the importance of a two-child family, said Thuy.

There will be some exceptions to the draft, which will become law when it is passed by the National Assembly. Members of ethnic minority groups whose population is less than 10,000 will be exempt. The law also allows couples with two children to have a third if one child is disabled.

Some fear that the two-child limit may increase the rate of abortion and infanticide.

Vietnam is a patrilineal society, where boys are favoured over girls. A male child not only passes on the family line but is responsible for caring for parents and praying for the family’s ancestors.

The pressure to give birth to a boy has already increased the gender imbalance. According to the Ministry of Health, for every 100 girls born in Vietnam, there are 112 boys.

Population experts say Vietnam has one of the highest abortion rates in Asia. The United Nations Population Fund recently reported that there is one abortion for every two live births in the country.

Thuy, of the Ministry of Health, has warned that by the year 2030, more than 4 million Vietnamese men will not be able to find wives unless the gender imbalance is corrected.

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/242650,overpopulated-vietnam-urges-parents-to-stop-at-two.html

Vietnam plans return to two-child policy to tackle population growth

Government fears baby boom will damage economic growth and strain health and education services

Ian MacKinnon, south-east Asia correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Friday November 21 2008 13.02 GMT

Newborn babies at the central maternity hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam

Newborn babies at the central maternity hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photograph: Chitose Suzuki/AP

Faced with a new baby boom, communist Vietnam is planning to prohibit couples from having more than two children.

The government in the nation of 86 million people – two thirds of whom are under 35 – fears a population explosion will knock its economic growth off track and strain health and education services.

A two-child policy introduced in the 1960s was scrapped in 2003, though the one-party state’s rulers encouraged couples to have small families so they could adequately care for them.

But a spike in births this year to couples who already had two children sparked official alarm. In the first nine months of 2008, 93,000 babies were born, a 10% rise on last year.

The cabinet this week agreed a draft amendment ordering a two-child norm that will become law if approved by the national assembly.

The sanctions for flouting the policy were not outlined, but in the past families were punished with pay cuts and other penalties at work, while Communist party members suffered reprimands or even expulsion.

“The demographic boom is damaging the country’s sustainable development,” said Duong Quoc Trong, of the government’s population and family planning office.

However, critics say a young population is vital for Vietnam’s economic success and point to falling rates of growth and fertility over the past six years.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is puzzled by the regressive step as the country’s fertility levels had already fallen below replacement rates.

“In Vietnam now life expectancy is rising, the fertility rate is decreasing and in the next 20 years many people will be in the senior group,” said Tran Thi Van, of UNFPA. “If there’s not a sufficient labour force as the population is ageing, the country will face a lot of problems.”

Couples already have small families, but abortions and ultra-sound tests are commonly used to determine the sex of their children, ensuring they have at least one boy to meet cultural expectations.

The male-female ratio climbed to 112-110 last year, compared with international norms of slightly fewer male births.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/21/vietnam-population-baby-boom

Vietnam to enforce two-child rule

Under the new rules couples would be penalised for having a third child

Under the new rules couples would be penalised for having a third child

The authorities in Vietnam plan to enforce a two-child policy in an attempt to control population growth.

They say it is needed to avoid putting a strain on public services in the country of 86 million people.

A similar policy was introduced in the 1960s, but it was relaxed in 2003 to encourage small families without making it illegal to have a third child.

Critics of the government plan have warned that a younger population is essential to Vietnam’s development.

Government statistics show that in the first nine months of this year, 93,000 babies were born to couples who already had two or more children.

If there is not [a sufficient] labour force as the population is aging, the country will face a lot of problems
Tran Thi Van
UNFPA Spokeswoman

Under current rules, married couples have largely been at liberty to chose how many children they want and when to have them.

But according to the deputy head of Vietnam’s General Office for Population and Family Planning, Duong Quoc Trong, these rules have been “so general that people haven’t understood it and have sometimes taken advantage of it”.

“The demographic boom is damaging the country’s sustainable development,” he said.

Future problems

Giang Nguyen, head of the BBC’s Vietnamese service, says that urban parents have felt increasingly able to have more children as their living standards have improved.

Moped drivers in Hanoi, Vietnam (28/10/2008)

Vietnam experienced a post-war population boom

For poorer parents, a large family can act as security in their old age in a country without universal state pensions, he adds.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has said that Vietnam should reconsider the plans because “it will be difficult to increase the population again decades after”.

Vietnam currently has a population growth rate of 1.3%, which has remained largely unchanged for the past few years, according to the UN.

“In Vietnam now, life expectancy is rising, the fertility rate is decreasing and in the next 20 years, many people will be in the senior group,” said UNFPA spokeswoman Tran Thi Van.

“If there is not [a sufficient] labour force as the population is aging, the country will face a lot of problems.”

Certain groups would remain exempt from the new regulations, officials said, including ethnic minorities with low populations, and couples who were remarrying or had lost a child.

The proposals will be voted on by the National Assembly later this year. If they become law, parents would be penalised for having more than two children.

Officials have not yet said what the punishment would be, but they could include financial penalties or demotion at work.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7740407.stm

Vietnam to tighten 2-child rule

HANOI – COMMUNIST Vietnam, alarmed by its fast population growth of recent years, is planning to tighten up enforcement of its two-child policy, family planning officials said on Thursday.

The government worries that rising numbers are putting strain on education, health and other public services in the country of 86 million, about two thirds of whom are under 35, thanks to a post-war baby boom.

The one-party government first launched a two-child policy in the early 1960s, but this was relaxed in a 2003 ordinance that encouraged small families without making it illegal for families to have a third child.

That decree was ‘so general that people haven’t understood it and have sometimes taken advantage of it’, said Mr Duong Quoc Trong, deputy head of the government’s General Office for Population and Family Planning.

‘The demographic boom is damaging the country’s sustainable development.’

Many Vietnamese couples now have a third child – especially in families with two daughters, because of a long-standing belief that sons must care for their parents in old age and carry on the family name.

In the first nine months of this year, about 93,000 third-child births were registered in Vietnam – 10 per cent more than in the same period last year – according to official statistics.

This week the cabinet agreed on a draft amendment that would turn the two-child rule into law once it is passed by the National Assembly.

In the past Communist Party members have faced warnings, reprimands or expulsion for breaching the two-child rule, and citizens have been punished with pay cuts and other disciplinary measures at work.

Officials did not say what penalties may apply in future under the new law.

Some groups will be exempt, including members of ethnic minority groups with less than 10,000 people, said the state-run Vietnam News Agency.

Couples will also be allowed to ask for permission to have a third baby if one of their children is disfigured because of an accident or fatal disease. — AFP

http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/SE%2BAsia/Story/STIStory_304702.html