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China’s egg freezing ban for unmarried women triggers heated debate

egg freezing ban in china


China's ban on the use of "assisted reproductive technology" for unmarried women is not new — it's been on the books for years — but it is making headlines after a Chinese director and actress, Xu Jinglei, revealed that she traveled to the United States in 2013 to freeze her eggs.

中国禁止未婚女性使用"辅助生殖技术"并不是什么新鲜事——几年前就已经有明文规定——但在中国导演和演员徐静蕾透露她2013年前往美国冷冻卵子后,这一话题成为热点。

 

Xu, 41, framed the issue as simple matter of reproductive choice. According to a report in a Chinese magazine, she said her only regret was "that I am a little bit late in doing so" —prompting a slew of anxious stories in the state-controlled media, and an outpouring of support online.

现年41岁的徐静蕾称这一做法只不过是一个关于生育选择的简单问题。根据一家中国杂志的报道,她说她唯一遗憾的是"做的有点太晚了"——在官方媒体中引发了众多担忧,但在网上得到了大量支持。

 

Then blogger-turned-rally-car-driver Han Han weighed in, asking rhetorically: "Isn't it okay to just want a child but not want to marry a man?" The internet went nuts, with his initial post attracting tens of thousands of likes and a comment thread 18,000-posts long.

从微博博主转作赛车手的韩寒加入了讨论,并讽刺说:"想要个孩子但就是不想跟男人结婚不可以吗?"网上炸开了锅,他的原帖获得了成千上万的支持,评论数达到了1.8万个。

 

The debate has raised questions about the status of unmarried women in China, specifically, as Li Yinhe, one of China's leading sex researchers put it, "whether or not single women have reproductive rights."

这一讨论在中国引发了关于未婚女性地位的问题,中国知名性学家之一的李银河指出:"无论是否是单身女性,都有生育权。"

 

China's coercive population policies do much to discourage single women from having kids. Unmarried mothers often can't get critical documents for their offspring, for instance, and are sometimes forced to pay fees.

中国强制性的人口政策不鼓励单身女性生育。例如,未婚妈妈经常拿不到重要的准生证,有时还要被罚款。

 

The policy is driven by twin obsessions of the Chinese state: population control and social stability.

这一政策的制定是由中国政府的两大考虑因素推动的:人口控制和社会稳定。

 

For decades now the government has controlled the population through marriage, says Li, primarily by limiting most couples to one child.

李银河表示,数十年来,政府已经通过婚姻控制了人口,主要是限制大多数夫妇只能生一个孩子。

 

"The state thinks if it grants a single woman reproductive rights, population control will be messed up," she said.

她说:"政府认为,如果给予单身女性生育权,就会扰乱人口控制。"

 

This helps explain why the state's general lack of enthusiasm for reproductive technology of any sort. (If a married woman wants to freeze her eggs, she usually needs to prove it is for health reasons, and health reasons alone.)

这有助于解释中国总体缺乏对各种生殖技术的热情。(如果已婚女性想要冷冻卵子,她通常需要证明这是出于健康原因,而且只是由于健康原因。)

 

But there's more to it. With China's population pyramid shifting, the government is slowly easing up on the one-child policy, increasing the number of couples — married, heterosexual couples — that are permitted to have a second child.

随着中国人口结构的变化,政府正在缓慢放松独生子女政策,增加可以生二胎的夫妇——已婚的双性恋夫妇——数量。

 

But single women? No.

但单身女性呢?还是不行!

 

This reflects the Communist Party's belief that a "harmonious family" (here defined as a married man and woman and legally registered child) is the bedrock of a "harmonious society," says Leta Hong Fincher, author ofLeftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China.

《剩女:性别不平等在中国的回潮》一书的作者利塔·洪·芬彻说,这反映了中国政府相信,"和谐家庭"(指已婚男女加上合法登记的孩子)是"和谐社会"的牢固基础。

 

"The prospect of women being able to give birth on their own is very threatening to the moral order," she said.

她说:"女性能够未婚生育将严重威胁道德秩序。"

 

Which is why Xu's comments made such waves.

这就是徐静蕾的言论引发轩然大波的原因。

 

Xu is one of a growing number of women who have the financial security to live on their own if they choose, and to travel outside China should they please.

越来越多的女性实现了财务安全,可以过她们自己想要的生活,只要愿意就可以出国。

 

Most women don't have those options — yet — but that does not mean they will not speak out, as they have done for Xu.

大多数女性还无法拥有这些选择,但并不意味着她们不会表达意见,正如她们对徐静蕾的支持一样。

 

Li, the veteran sex researcher, says the government ought to change course, and adopt a more open policy.

资深性学家李银河表示,政府应该改变方针,制定更开放的政策。

 

"Because of population control, women were not allowed to have more than one child, now if they are not married, they can not have any," she said. "It's a little too cruel."

她说:"由于人口控制,女性只能生一个孩子,如果她们不结婚,就不能有孩子。""这有点太残酷了。"

2016-06-24

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