Chinese men face bachelor's life

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TWENTY YEARS after China introduced its one child policy - brutally tailored by many people to favour boys - the world's most populous country has become its loneliest. The latest demographic trends show that some 111 million Chinese men will never marry.

A nation where some 6 million women bear the names Lai-di and Ziao-di ("call for a brother" and "bring a brother") there are now 120 potential grooms for every 100 brides-to-be. The trend seems to be worsening. Just four years ago, there were 113.4 men for every 100 women.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences claims a "natural gender rate" is 106 men for 100 women. But in Western countries there are consistently more women than men in the population.

Since 1979, when China adopted its one-child policy, the 1.2 billion- strong nation has become awash with gruesome stories of female infanticide and abandonment of baby girls.

Campaigners against the one-child policy estimate that a million girl babies are abandoned every year.

China's growing prosperity and increasing imbalance between men and women has also fuelled the burgeoning sex industry. Denied the chance of a wife or girlfriend, many men turn to commercial sex as the only alternative.