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article imageAfter The Quake: The One Child Policy In China Adds To The Grief

By KJ Mullins     May 17, 2008 in Health
In earthquake ravaged China parents are mourning the many children that have been killed this week. With China's one child only policy those grieving are often now childless.
Many of those who are listed among the dead are the children that were buried in the rubble of their schools.
For the parents that survive their children their grief may make restarting their live that much harder as they set forth with added guilt and regret that they only had one child.
"She died before becoming even a young adult," said Bi, an intense, wiry chemical plant worker, standing beside the grave of 13-year-old Yuexing - one of dozens sprinkled amid fields of ripened spring wheat and newly planted rice. "She never really knew what life was like."
As common policy in many schools all but the main doors were locked leaving only one exit for children to attempt to escape from.
In China the quake toppled almost 6,900 classrooms. The shoddy construction highlighted that the schools were woefully underfunded in small towns.
Launched in the late 1970's China imposed a one child only law limiting family sizes. This policy was meant to enable China to be able to give their children a better education and medical care. Because of the law there have been forced abortions, sterilizations and an imbalanced sex ratio with families aborting girls in favor of having a son.
In some rural areas the policy has been relaxed if the first child born is a girl allowing for an additional birth. That though is not the case in much of the region hit by Monday's earthquake.
Surviving parents can be expected to feel intense guilt that they lived on while their child died. They can feel that they failed their role as parents by not protecting their young. Often these parents will look back and regret their interaction with their children, dwelling on negatives (thinking they were too stern, did not show them sufficient love or did not interact with them enough) instead of positives.
Hopefully China will be able to provide grief counselling for these parents after the initial recovery effort has eased.
More about China, One child policy, Earthquake
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