Left-behind children in China

Left-behind children in China

How China controls 1.4 billion people’s movement within its borders
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. Imagine growing up in rural America, dreaming of leaving the drudgery of small-town suburbia to pursue the glitz and glamor of the big city. Then imagine that a special registration system, required at birth, would issue a document that results in a life spent on the fringes of the concrete jungle. This theoretical document wouldn’t be much of a roadblock for relocation, but, because it is stamped “rural,” enrolling in schools would be difficult, health care access would be limited and it would be impossible to get certain jobs. This scenario is analogous
Online protest highlights woes of evicted children in Shenzhen
Chinese internet users have joined an online protest to support children who were forced to move out of one of Shenzhen’s biggest migrant neighorboods. Following calls from a performance artist called Nut Brother, WeChat users are sharing pictures of evicted migrant children, in order to pressure the government into finding new schools for them.  In China’s megacity of Shenzhen, home to some of the country’s biggest tech firms, so-called urban villages have housed successive waves of migrant workers and their families for decades. In a pattern repeated across much of the country, such neighborhoods, which provide cheap housing and services, are being gradually demolished to make way for mode
China must do more to protect children from sexual abuse
Last month, the Supreme People’s Court of China published four so-called typical cases of sexual abuse of children. The top court vowed to use all means, including the death penalty, to punish child sex offenders. I feel encouraged by the news as it shows China is adopting a zero-tolerance attitude. I was also a victim of child sex abuse, one of many girls molested by a teacher at my primary school in the eastern city of Nanjing. This is a hidden but growing epidemic. News portal Caixin.com reported that some 8% to 12% of China’s 270 million minors might have experienced sexual assault, including rape for 1%.  “It means that nearly 30 million Chinese children could have been the victims of s
Inkstone index: China’s left-behind children
70 million: the number of Chinese children living away from at least one parent. As the Lunar New Year draws closer, millions of left-behind children in China are waiting to see their parents for the first, and possibly the only, time of the year. Hundreds of millions of rural workers have moved to take up jobs in China’s cities as the nation opened up over the past four decades, providing cheap labor for the country’s economic transformation. The children they left behind in their hometowns and villages, often poorly educated and cared for, have become a major social and economic problem for the country. Estimates of the number of children number vary, depending on how “left-behind” is defi
The heart-warming principal who cooks for ‘left-behind’ kids
When Zhang Zhanliang was in third grade, his father died. Lonely and rudderless, he began missing school. But rather than punish him, his teachers took care of him. They took him into their homes for meals and stitched up his ragged clothes. Today, Zhang, 45, is the principal of a remote village school in the southeastern Chinese province of Jiangxi. Inspired by the kindness of the teachers of his youth, he cooks for pupils whose parents work away from the community, offering a source of much-needed comfort. “The children don’t lack money – they lack the company of their parents,” The Beijing News quoted Zhang as saying. The children don’t lack money – they lack the company of their parents
China’s cycle of rural poverty
Rural poverty is a vicious cycle in China. Perhaps no story better represents this than that of 16-year-old Chen Zhenzhen. Chen gave up school at the age of 12, when her family could no longer afford her school fees, and began working to help support her younger siblings. Without formal education, Chen says she has no way out of a future bound to doing manual labor.
The ‘teacher moms’ who care for China’s children
Chen Jinghua is a 56-year-old elementary school vice-principal in eastern China’s Jiangsu province. But when the school day ends, his second job begins. In 2008, he started “Teacher moms,” a project to help the community’s “left-behind children” – some of the 60 million kids whose parents are migrant workers, employed far from home. This is increasingly been seen as a social problem in China. According to the China Labour Bulletin, 287 million people – more than a third of China’s entire workforce – are migrant workers. They often leave their children behind in rural communities to be raised by relatives, while the parents seek out work in the nation’s expanding cities. Over the years, many