The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Community News Network

May 9, 2014

Chinese couples rush to get pregnant before dreaded Year of the Sheep

(Continued)

BEIJING —

Others who fear they will miss their window have flocked to support groups that have sprung up online.

 

While demographers acknowledge the Chinese zodiac's cultural importance, some have thrown cold water on the idea that it affects birthrates on a national scale.

Some Chinese provinces and hospitals have at times shown increases in births during lucky animal years and decreases in sheep years, but there is no discernible effect on national demographics, according to Duan Chengrong, a population expert who in 2003 published one of the only studies available on the phenomenon.

"It doesn't mean it isn't a factor," he said by phone last week. "But its effects are likely diluted and overshadowed by others."

Among the factors that have affected China's birthrate in recent decades, and complicated the interpretation of such data, are political and economic upheaval and the government's one-child policy.

In other countries, demographers have also grappled with theories of baby booms linked to specific events.

In the United States, for example, New York newspapers famously announced a boom in pregnancies after the massive blackout of 1965, during which couples supposedly had nothing better to do than procreate. But such a phenomenon was debunked in later years by population experts.

For those in China most schooled in the mystical arts of fortune-telling, all this attention to the Chinese zodiac calendar year is wasted.

"Ordinary people only care about the zodiac because it is much easier to understand than the truth. To us true feng-shui masters, the zodiac doesn't matter at all," said Wen Chaoliang, 39. "What matters most isn't the year you are born but the exact time of delivery."

Feng shui is the ancient art of arranging objects or numbers to improve luck.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • When your doctor commits suicide, things get complicated

    When they call for appointments, patients are told they can't see their doctor. Ever. The standard line: "We are sorry, but your doctor died suddenly."

    July 15, 2014

  • NWS-HB0713-HowardMartin-004.jpg Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

    The mystery of what happened to a military transport plane that disappeared in the fall of 1952 into an Alaskan glacier was solved two years ago when a helicopter crew spotted the wreckage. But it took another two years to retrieve the remains of Airman Howard Miller and 16 other servicemen passengers. Saturday, Miller was laid to rest in his hometown of Elwood, Ind., with full military honors. Hundreds turned out for the funeral and burial services.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps

     I climbed the ladder quickly, free to work any hours in any location for any pay. I moved from market to market, always achieving a better title, a better salary. Succeeding.

    July 8, 2014

  • Nation's first soda tax could come to Berkeley

    The Berkeley City Council unanimously decided last week to put the 1-cent-per-ounce tax on the ballot this November. Approving the tax would mean a major defeat for the soda industry, which has spent millions to crush the effort nationwide.

    July 7, 2014

  • President Barack Obama mug Best president? Worst president? Don't read too much into those polls

    The questions about who are the best and worst post-WWII presidents are useless. What they mainly show is that Republicans are far more unified around a single story than are Democrats.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • What states can do on their own about immigration

    It's official: Congress won't take up immigration reform this year. This week, President Barack Obama said he'll use executive actions to change policies unilaterally.

    July 1, 2014

Front page
Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Poll

What are your plans for the weekend?

Enjoying the outdoors
Staying in out of the heat
Traveling
Other
     View Results
AP Video
Olympics 2014
Featured Comment
Featured Ads
Blue Zones Project
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.