Opinion / From the Press

More care urged for parents losing only child

By Li Yang ( Updated: 2014-04-29 08:45

The government should do more to care for parents who lose their only child and should provide more financial and mental assistance to them, says an article in the Southern Metropolis Daily. Excerpts:

More than 240 parents whose only child died appealed to the family planning authority to increase the government's subsidy for parents like them.

The Chinese government has implemented family planning policy since 1980s. In principle, each couple can have only one child.

Statistics show there are 190 million children from 15 to 30 years old, born under the policy, in China now. The annual rate of death for the group is about four out of every 10,000. This means about 76,000 families lose their single child each year in China. Nearly 2 million senior citizens in all have lost their single child. As a result, they face considerable material and mental difficulties and pressures.

Most local governments provide only symbolic financial aid of about 200 yuan ($35) each month to the elderly parents. And the aid, which does not have any legal foundation, varies from place to place.

According to the family planning policy, if the couples have more children than the policy allows, they must pay a "social caring fee" to family planning departments to "compensate for the government's and society's loss in taking care of the children".

Under this logic, the parents abiding by the rules deserve the government's compensation, after losing their single child and reproductive abilities.

The compensation should include both financial aid and psychological assistance. Communities and social organizations should play a bigger role in caring for the parents.

It is reported that the social caring fee brings in tens of billions of yuan each year. But family planning authorities have kept the public largely in the dark about the uses of this huge amount of money.

Society should not be aloof regarding these parents, because their tragedy could occur to any family.

The government should make the expenditures of the fee more transparent to the public and increase the government's financial aid to the parents.

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