The 1 Million Chinese Families Whose Only Children Have Died

At NPR, a piece about Chinese parents who are organizing for government benefits after losing their only children to illness or accidents:

Population experts estimate that over 1 million Chinese families have lost their only children. They say that number could exceed 10 million by midcentury.

The pain of losing an only child is magnified by Chinese tradition, in which if you fail to carry on the family line, you’re seen as dishonoring your ancestors.

Xiaonan’s mom admits the one-child policy did not cause her son’s death, even though it has put her in a tough spot in her old age.

“Here we are, at this age, without children. Who’ll take care of us in our old age and bury us when we die?” she asks. “Without the policy, we might’ve had two or three children, and we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

The issue of whether or not they’re eligible for government compensation is slippery, and depends in one light on whether or not the one-child policy is viewed as a reproductive rights violation or just a reproductive rights… mini-violation, as Wang Haidong, the excellently named family planning official, seems to want to admit in his quote but does not actually. [NPR]

More ...