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Crisis of left behind children

HONG KONG (SE): The number of children in China who are left behind in the countryside by their parents while their parents seek a better living in the big cities has grown to alarming proportions, reports.

It is estimated today that there are at least 100 million such children, who usually are put in the care of grandparents or a relative. They have been dubbed left behind children and some of the more profound effects on their psychological health are beginning to be taken notice of.

On January 26, Xinhua ran a story of nine-year-old Xiao Lin (not real name), a young boy from Sige Village in Wangjiang county, Anhui province. It tells how he had to go alone to the local school to pick up his academic report, while most of his classmates had at least one parent with them.

A friend of the family in the village told Xinhua that he looked a bit down and disappointed with his results after he picked them up.

Xiao’s parents are divorced. His father left home for the city less than 30 days prior to his birth and his mother left for the city when his father divorced her some years ago.

Since that time he has been living with his grandparents and attending the local school, except for a short while that he was transferred to another school near his stepfather.

The report says that he received a telephone call from his mother that night. He maybe became excited, thinking that she would be coming home to see him.

But there was no good news. All she had to tell him was that she would not be coming home for the Lunar New holiday to celebrate the Spring Festival with him.

It was the second year in a row that the young boy had been left alone by his mother over the festival period. His grandparents said that he then took his supper to the doorway of the house and ate alone in silence. They described him as staring into the distance.

However, Xinhua reports that no one dreamed what thoughts were racing around his young head, but that night he committed suicide by hanging himself in the toilet. But he did leave a note.

“Lin’s parents never went to school to pick up his academic reports with him, nor had they ever attended parents’ meetings, enhancing his insecurities,” Yang Qinglin, the principal of the school, was quoted as saying.


“He was better behaved than his schoolmates,” the principal noted, “because he knew no one was going to defend him if he caused trouble at school.”

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