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"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

Sex selection, China and human rights

July 2, 2011

Mara Hvistendahl's wish to highlight the scourge of prenatal sex selection in Asia (Lost girls: sex selection and the rise of Generation XY, 17 June) is laudable, but her book's claim that UNFPA, the UN Population Fund, has failed to address the problem is incorrect. On the contrary, UNFPA has been raising alarms about this odious practice for more than 20 years.

In China, UNFPA called attention to the skewed sex ratio at birth when it first became apparent in the 1990 census; our advocacy helped persuade the government to outlaw sex selection in 1994. Since then, the Fund has sponsored an ongoing series of influential forums and studies on the causes and likely consequences of sex selection in China and other countries, including some of the research Ms Hvistendahl cites in her book. And in India, UNFPA has long been a prominent leader in advocating against sex selection and other practices that discriminate against girls and women.

Safiye Çagar



• During Chinese premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Britain, David Cameron must fulfil his government's commitment to placing human rights at the "irreducible core" of foreign policy. The recent detention of Ai Weiwei, the ongoing military crackdown at Kirti Monastery in Tibet and the continued detention of numerous Uighur dissidents are just a few examples of the oppressive nature of Mr Wen's administration. Mr Cameron has been outspoken in support of demonstrators involved in the Arab spring; he must now show support for those opposing the policies of the Chinese Communist party regime.

Shao Jiang 1989 Beijing massacre survivor

Stephen Ng Director, Chinese Solidarity Campaign

Lucy Jin Co-ordinator, Federation for a Democratic China

Ze Xia Director, Friends of Tiananmen Mothers

Kate Saunders Communications director, International Campaign for Tibet

Pema Yoko National Co-ordinator, Students for a Free Tibet

Pempa Tsering Chairman, Tibetan Community in Britain

Karma Chura-Tsang Director, Tibetan Youth UK

Philippa Carrick CEO, Tibet Society

Enver Tohti Director, Uighur UK Association

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