Devastated Parents Mourning China’s One-Child Policy

Written by Wes Walker on August 15, 2013

Here’s a question most of us probably never thought about.  In a place like China, where elderly adults are cared for by their working-age children, what happens when that one child you were allowed to have falls at an unexpectedly young age to the stroke of death?  What’s worse, these grieving parents are often shunned because they’re considered “unlucky”.

Here are some excerpts from an article about families devastated by the loss of their only child.

Human rights groups have exposed forced abortions, infanticide and involuntary sterilizations, practices banned in theory by the government. And officials are increasingly deliberating whether the long-term economic costs of the policy — including a looming labor shortage — outweigh the benefits. In the latest sign of such concern, the government announced last weekend that it is studying possible ways to relax the one-child policy in coming years, according to state media.

Almost all characterized their child’s death as a crippling financial blow because China’s elderly tend to depend heavily on their children to supplement modest government pensions.

Many noted bitterly the enormous resources that the government has plowed into the enforcement of the one-child policy, creating a new wing of bureaucracy down to the township level.

A second child was so unthinkable that, immediately after her delivery, doctors performed a procedure to prevent her from being able to conceive. Neither she nor the doctors thought it necessary to seek her permission.

“Family planning is good, the government will take care of our old,” read posters that were plastered on streets in those days.  [Of COURSE they will.  They tell that lie on both sides of the Pacific.]

The article can be read in its entirety at the Washington Post.