This article explores how gender bias in population policies interacts with local culture to reinforce distortions in sex ratios among infants and young children in rural China. It argues that population policies introduce new sources of inequality into local culture while, conversely, gender inequalities embedded in local culture influence formal population policy and practice. Applying an institutional approach to the study of an agricultural county in Jiangxi province, southeast China, the analysis identifies four ways in which an interplay between gender bias in policy and culture produces gendered fertility outcomes: (1) the creation of gendered official categories such as “daughter-only households”; (2) a male bias embedded in local government; (3) the use of local gender norms in state pedagogy; and (4) the reworking or subverting of official norms in ways that reinforce gender inequalities in local reproductive culture. The article concludes that despite indications of contestation of village patriarchy, discrimination against daughters is likely to persist.