Families Left Behind by China's One-Child Policy

China’s latest modification to its family-planning rule doesn’t help ‘Parents of the Lost Only Children’ according to a recent Wall Street Journal article by Laurie Burkitt.  She explains, The abolition of China’s one-child policy came too late for one group of middle-aged Chinese: those whose only child has died and whose financial security in old age is now in jeopardy. Amid falling birthrates and a rapidly aging workforce, China said late last year it would allow all couples to have two children, ending one of modern China’s most controversial decrees.” Wearing white hats that said ‘Parents of the Lost Only Children, hundreds of them protested outside the national family-planning office in Beijing on Monday.  They had gathered from various parts of China to lobby for financial support. Many held pictures of their children and wore signs saying that they were the victims of China’s family-planning policies.”

Jie Dongsheng and his wife, Li Xurong, stand amid hundreds of bereaved parents who have lost their only children and are seeking government benefits to support them in their retirement. Photo: Laurie Burkitt

As required by Chinese law, adult children must provide for their parents, but that law does not mention any contingency support for those who have lost their only child.  The costs of supporting families can be devastating to nations.   The cost of losing the only child they were allowed to have is devastating to their family, and now to their survival.

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