Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Photographer documents the plight of China's left-behind kids
There are over 280 million, or about one-third of the total workforce, migrant workers in China. They have helped the country develop rapidly working in manufacturing, construction, retail, transport, and hotels. Most of them come from the countryside where there are few financially rewarding jobs other than farming. Indeed, they have been the engine of China’s spectacular economic growth of the last three decades.
However, China’s half-century-old household registration system, hukou, designed to facilitate welfare and control migration, has created numbers of children who are left in rural towns without a parent or both, as many as nine million. That’s because they don’t have access to social welfare including schooling in the cities where their parents live to work. Most of such children are taken care by their grandparents, but they can meet their parents very occasionally or never. This causes psychological and emotional disconnection with their parents who are needed the most during the early part of childhood.
There is a photographer who visited rural towns and talked with such left-behind children. He was shocked to hear what those children have said.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the photos to learn what’s behind the scene of China’s recent prosperity.