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CRAZE FOR BOYS LEAVES CHINA UNEVEN

There are 29 times more single men than women between the ages of 25 and 49 in China's rural villages, the China-funded Wen Wei Po newspaper reported Tuesday.

Males outnumber females in villages by more than 30 million and that number will soar to more than 50 million by 2000, the newspaper said, citing figures from a 1993 population study and from China's fourth national census.Males now make up about 51.5 percent of China's rural population of more than 900 million. Some 8.8 percent of men between 25 and 49 are bachelors.

Chinese traditionally favor male children, partly to carry on the family name and partly because sons are considered more able to support their parents in old age.

China is enforcing a one-child-per-family policy to curb the growth of its 1.2-billion population. Families that have a girl first sometimes do not register the birth so they can keep trying for a boy, experts say.

Many families have doctors determine the sex of the child while it is still in the womb so they can abort a female fetus.

Infant girls often receive less care and medical treatment, which sometimes leads to death.