Heartbreaking consequences of China's one-child policy 0Heartbreaking consequences of China's one-child policy 0

Painting urging people to follow the one-child policy in Beijing in 1992. Photo: AFP.

`During Mao Zedong, both my husband and I were young people. We followed the party’s calls and adhered to the party policies issued,` said Ms. Wang Aiying, 63 years old, in Handan, Hanoi.

She and her husband followed the one-child policy and it made her extremely miserable when her son passed away in 2015. She and her husband became `unparented`, a phrase that refers to a family that has lost a child.

Ms. Wang’s son, Chang Jia, almost wasn’t born.

Wang, then 26 years old, successfully argued for the right to have the child, but immediately after giving birth, she was told not to get pregnant a second time.

In 2012, Ms. Wang’s son was diagnosed with liver cancer.

Some time after losing her child, Ms. Wang applied for a pension of 3,000 yuan (450 USD) a month for families with one child, but she encountered many difficulties in the procedure because she retired early.

According to a 2013 report by the Chinese National Committee for the Aging, one million Chinese households are in the `dangerous situation` and that number increases by 76,000 households each year.

The families who lost their independence because of the one-child policy in the early days are now in their 50s and 60s. Many of them feel extremely worried about being in old age without the care of their children, and they also find themselves

`People look down on me because my son passed away,` Ms. Wang said.

Her husband, Mr. Chang Shunde, 67 years old, has not yet fully recovered from a stroke in 2010. He is unsteady on his feet and cannot even hear or speak clearly.

China’s one-child policy has been in place since 1980. They called on party members to have only one child to keep the population at 1.2 billion until the end of the 20th century. In 1982, this policy was drafted.

`My wife was forced to have an abortion when she was 4 months pregnant with her second child,` said Zhao Bingyi, 66, living in Handan.

Heartbreaking consequences of China's one-child policy

Mr. Zhao Bingyi.

The couple’s only child is air conditioning repairman Zhao Jingxuan, who passed away in 2005 due to an occupational accident at the age of 27. `My son is resourceful, emotional and knows how to respect his superiors and subordinates.

On the wall is a photo of Mr. Zhao’s grandchild.

`She is withdrawn and very quiet since her father passed away. I’m very worried about that but don’t know what to do,` he said.

With a pension of 2,500 yuan a month and a 340 yuan allowance for single families supported by the local government, Mr. Zhao had to find a way to manage family life and tuition for his nephew.

He also worried about his own future.

Since 2013, Mr. Zhao has called for society’s attention and asked for financial help from the government.

Last year, on April 18, Mr. Zhao and hundreds of poisoned families across the country protested at the Health and Family Planning Committee in Beijing.

This year, he even encountered obstacles from the beginning.

China has increased subsidies for unmarried families under the Population and Family Planning Law.

`Many families are extremely saddened by the death of their children, so they do not register their deaths. Therefore, many people do not even know about this subsidy,` Ms. Wang said.

Professor Qiao Xiaochun at the Population Research Institute of Peking University said that the psychological problems faced by families with single children are much more serious than financial problems.

`In Chinese society, when two older women meet, they will ask each other about their children. For families with no single family, it will be a bitter conversation,` he commented.

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