Happiness a stretch for some

By Liang Qiwen (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-06-02 11:04

It was a day of fun, games and no homework on Friday for many young people across China for the International Children's Day.

But for millions of children in South China's Guangdong Province, it was nothing special at all.

A survey released on Thursday has highlighted the somewhat unhappy, even grim situation faced by many of the province's young people.

The survey "A Report on Guangdong's Children in Predicament," revealed that 950,000 are taken care of by guardians not parents, another 267,000 live in single-parent families, and 39,000 are orphans. About 1.26 million children live in poor families.

Some sadder statistics show that almost 14,000 are serving sentences in children's prisons, more than 10,000 children are beggars or vagrants, and more than 2 million children regularly relocate to different cities with their families.

The South China Village Research Center of Sun Yat-Sen University and Guangdong Provincial Women's Federation conducted the research in March with a province-wide questionnaire .

"Most of the children who are left at home and far away their from parents are in poor rural areas," Fan Tao, an official with the research center of Sun Yat-Sen University, told China Daily on Friday.

In order to earn more money by moving to cities, poor young parents are leaving their children in the care of guardians, such as grandparents or relatives, Fan said.

Children who lack care from their parents are more susceptible to emotional and mental disorders, such as inferiority complex, experts said.

A national survey showed most guardians only provide children under their care the essential requirements of life, and they seldom do anything to supplement the children's studies. As many as 70 percent of guardians said that they rarely talked to their guarded children.

"Children without care from their parents do not have the necessary emotional support in their life, and are more likely to commit crimes," Zhang Liling, director of Children Department of the women's federation said.

Both the women's federation and the research center have come up with a number of solutions to this social problem.

One of them is to find "compassionate parents" in the community, willing help the children in need.

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