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Parents leave behind 9 million children in China

By Ma Chi | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-11-10 14:07

Parents leave behind 9 million children in China

A girl sits in on a class at a primary school in Yongfu village, Chongqing city on May 12, 2016. [Photo/IC]

Nine million rural children aren't living with their parents who have left to find work away from their hometown, Xinhua News Agency reports.

Nearly 90 percent of these children, aged less than 16, are cared for by their grandparents with 4 percent forced to live on their own.

Just over half of the children left behind are in Central China and nearly 40 percent are in West China, while less than 10 percent live in East China, a more economically developed area.

The figures are contained in a survey jointly carried out this year by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Public Security.

Amid China's rapid urbanization drive, a large rural labor force has migrated to cities in economically developed areas in search of better-paying jobs, leaving their children back at home.

It has taken a toll on these families.

In June 2015, four siblings, aged between five and 13, committed suicide by drinking farm chemicals in Bijie, Guizhou province.

An investigation found they suffered severe mental problems which may have been related to their parents' absence.

To help these families, the authorities are aiming to provide care for each left-behind child and protect their rights and interests properly by 2017.

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