Foreign Policy Blogs

China's Lost Girls (2005)

As of the filming of this special, as many as 40 million Chinese males were expected to be unable to find mates when they reach marrying age.
That is one of the results of China’s so-called one baby rule. With one out of every five people on earth living in China, the government has instituted the rule to retard population growth.
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In this National Geographic program, journalist Lisa Ling accompanies a group of Americans who are in China to adopt baby girls.
The sheer joy in the faces of those adopting is juxtaposed to the deep sadness of those giving up their children and foster children.
Despite the ideal of egalitarianism in communist China, male children are still preferred because they will carry on the family name and are more likely to stay with their families when they age.
Because of this, girls have been aborted, abandoned, and orphaned.
This has become such a problem that pregnant women are not allowed to know if their fetuses are male or female because most would abort the child if they knew it was a girl.
This situation has also created a sharp uptick in women being kidnapped and held hostage by frequently abusive “husbands.”


As China has just surpassed Japan for having the world’s second largest economy, more eyes will be upon it to criticize and emulate. What happens in China resonates with all the nations of Asia.
One thing can be certain, however: as long as China maintains a one child rule, there will be a surplus of baby girls.
China’s Lost Girls is available to rent.
Murphy can be reached at: [email protected]



Sean Patrick Murphy

Sean Patrick Murphy is a graduate of Bennington College, where he majored in politics and Latin American literature. He has worked for Current History magazine, Physicians for Human Rights, and Citizens for Global Solutions (formerly the World Federalist Association). He lives outside Philadelphia.

Areas of Focus:
Cinematography; Independent Films; Documentary;