[LIFE ★★]


Gender Imbalance

(P1) With China facing the prospect of 30 million unmarried men by 2020, an economics professor has proposed a solution – allow poor BACHELORS to share a wife.

(P2) Xie Zuoshi, a professor at Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, said it would be a practical way for the nation to deal with the LEGACY of decades of an abnormally high sex ratio.

(P3) China has long had a traditional preference for boys over girls that has, IF ANYTHING, increased under the ONE-CHILD POLICY.

(P4) The birth ratio of boys compared with girls had been rising steadily, peaking in 2009. It dropped slightly to 1.16:1 by 2014.

(P5) Between 24 million to 34 million more boys than girls were born in the past three decades, and most are unlikely to find wives, at least in China.

(P6) “It is a reality that we have so many more men than women. Serious social problems, such as rape and ASSAULTS, will happen if men cannot find wives. But it doesn’t have to be like that if they are given choices,” said Xie, who said he saw the problem from an economics point of view.

(P7) In terms of SUPPLY AND DEMAND, the rising number of bachelors has increased the SCARCITY of women and raised their value. Men with high incomes find wives first because they can afford to look after them. For low income men, one option is to share a wife with another man.

(P8) “I am not joking. Any REASONABLE person applying CRITICAL THINKING will come to the same conclusion. We cannot DEPRIVE those men of wives,” Xie said, saying it was already a practice in poor RURAL areas for brothers to share a wife.

(P9) Xie is 50 years old and married.

(P10) Another option is for women in other countries in Asia, such as Vietnam, to come to China to get married.

(P11) He even proposed that China change its laws that make MONOGAMY the only legal form of marriage. Sharing or even gay marriage should also be allowed, he said.

(P12) Xie’s proposal was not WELL-RECEIVED, with many questioning his morality. Yet Xie said he also received some support.

(P13) Some say that it was common in Chinese rural areas before 1949 to have a bachelor living with a couple to share the wife and economic BURDEN of the family.

(P14) Others say that marriage is a private matter and should depend on the CONSENT of the parties involved.

WORDS: 406

SOURCE: http://www.businessinsider.com/outrageous-solution-for-chinas-bachelors-2015-10


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you think that Professor Xie’s proposal is PRACTICAL, or was it just an attempt to get attention for himself?
  3. Why do families, not just in China but all over the world, prefer having a boy child to having a girl child?
  4. Men, especially young unmarried men, cause most of the VIOLENCE in any society, and lately there have been a number of violent attacks in China CARRIED OUT by unmarried poor men. What should the Chinese government do about this SOCIAL PROBLEM?
  5. Women in many countries prefer urban husbands rather than rural ones. Why is this true?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • If anything
  • One-child policy
  • Supply and demand
  • Critical thinking
  • Well-received

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