July 3, 2009 / 7:45 AM / 10 years ago

Vietnam seizes gender books to fight sex imbalance

HANOI (Reuters Life!) - Vietnam’s government has seized scores of locally published books on how to choose a baby’s gender as it faces a problem of boys outnumbering girls.

State newspapers said on Friday some 27 publications, which have been widely available in bookshops and on newsstands, were confiscated. Like in many Asian agriculture-based countries, there is a traditional preference for male children in Vietnam.

Vietnam has a birthrate of 112 boys for every 100 girls, and it has banned health facilities from making gender diagnosis, the Lao Dong daily quoted Duong Quoc Trong, deputy head of the Population Department, as saying.

Vietnam’s population has now reached 86.5 million, up 1.5 percent from 2007, making its the 13th most populous nation in the world.

The Communist-ruled country has restricted families of state employees to two children, and threatens violators with punishments that range from fines to suspension from the political party.

Many people who are employed outside the state-run sector, however, tend to have a third child.

Neighboring China, with the world’s biggest population straining scarce land, water and energy supplies, has restricted most families to one child since the late 1970s.

Reporting by Ho Binh Minh, editing by Miral Fahmy

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