View Full Version : China's 'leftover children'

Jul 7, 2006, 19:27
Orphans of the Chinese Economy

By Ching-Ching Ni, Times Staff Writer
July 5, 2006

As capitalism transforms this nominally communist nation, it has quietly reshaped the lives of China's rural young, creating a new underclass called liu shou er tong, or the "left-behind children." An entire generation is growing up without parents in deserted villages populated mostly by the very young and elderly.

Here in Sichuan province, in this cluster of villages that make up Qingshen town, cornstalks and bamboo groves shadow abandoned country roads and barnyard animals haunt empty farmhouses.

At Siqin's house, neighborhood dogs roll around in the courtyard waiting for scraps from her grandmother. An old man in a faded Mao suit takes slow drags from a bamboo pipe. A little boy stares at the smoke.

According to official figures, an estimated 120 million Chinese farmers have left their birthplaces in search of work in the cities. But some say the number could be as high as 150 million and is expected to rise to 300 million by 2020.

As this vast army of cheap labor moves freely, an estimated 20 million children are left behind, some to fend for themselves. Many don't see their parents for years.

Go here (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-children5jul05,0,5241004.story?coll=la-home-world) for the full news article.