While China banned maternal blood tests for fetal sex, many parents illegally send their samples to Hong Kong. A practice that favors selective abortions, in a country where the one-child policy has long persisted.
For the last ten years, it has been possible, by simple blood sample analysis, to know if the child we are expecting will be a girl or a boy, even before passing the slightest ultrasound examination. seventh week of pregnancy.
A deficit of 31.6 women
This practice, which consists of analyzing the fetal DNA in the mother's blood, is prohibited in France and China. And for good reason. In this country, where the one-child policy officially ended in 2015, today there are 31.6 million more men than women. In effect since 1979, this birth control policy has long encouraged families to make selective abortions: the latter preferred to have a boy who was more likely to work and financially support his parents.
If since then, Chinese families are allowed to have two children, these practices continue. Again last year, the WHO estimated that 115 boys were born for only 100 girls. Authorizing these blood tests would therefore be equivalent to allowing selective abortions, which since 1979 have contributed to the deficit of women in China
But in the country, many parents have found the parade to know early the sex of the fetus: illegally send maternal blood tests in Hong Kong, where the practice is allowed.
"The Chinese want a boy to perpetuate the lineage"
Journalist for AFP, Catherine Lai investigated these illegal circuits of maternal blood. Many Hong Kong clinics agree to analyze blood samples while knowing where they come from. "Dozens of people willing to organize smuggling to the former British colony then offer their services on social networks, yet very monitored," writes Catherine Lai.
Pretending to be a potential customer, a reporter from the press agency contacted three agents in China who all proposed, for 580 dollars (520 euros), to send via a courier to laboratories of the former colony. British blood test kits.
Chinese couples prefer to go directly to Hong Kong rather than take the risk of having their sample stopped at the border. This is the case of Mr. Wang, 39, from the southern province of Ghinzou. "I already have three girls. (...) The Chinese want a boy to perpetuate the lineage. It's archaic, but many people are like that," he says, before confiding that if this woman is still waiting a girl, she will abort. "She's only pregnant for about 50 days so it can be done with medication."
A questionable ethic
On the side of the Hong Kong laboratories carrying out these blood tests, no investigation has been judicialized, despite requests for opening investigations that have tripled since 2016, said the Hong Kong Department of Health at AFP. In the event of conviction, these laboratories could lose their approval.
Above all, there is the question of the ethics of such a practice. "Selective abortions are responsible for many tragedies in China and an imbalance in the population, how can one condone?" Wonders Kwok Ka-ki, MP and Hong Kong physician. He is campaigning today for the government of his country to cooperate with Beijing to dismantle the trafficking that carries blood samples to Hong Kong.