Twelve-year-old Luo Xiaofeng refused to
have dinner with his parents on the 15th day of the first lunar month, the
last day of the Chinese lunar new year.
Instead, he sat on the doorstep sobbing. "They are leaving for Xiamen
tomorrow, and I don't want to let them go," he cried.
It was the first Spring Festival in three years in which his parents
had managed to come back to their hometown in the eastern part of Ningde,
Fujian Province, to spend the holiday with him.
Luo is not alone. Government statistics show that more than 20 million
children in rural areas whose parents have left home to search for work in
The problem has reached a national scale as more and more migrant
workers from across China answer the call of employers in the country's
The splitting up of families poses a challenge to traditional household
structures and approaches to child-rearing, said Xie Guangxiang, deputy
secretary-general of Anhui Provincial Government.
In a proposal to the ongoing National Committee of the CPPCC, Xie urged
the whole country to think seriously about the situation.
Among the potential problems stay-at-home
children face are the absence of any sort of family
education, degraded school records and other psychological problems.
A survey of people in Jingmen, Hubei Province, showed that stay-at-home
local children suffer from poor living conditions, lagging educational
attainment, insecurity and difficultly in communication.
The survey, conducted by the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF) in May
last year, involved 181 children, 95 boys and 86 girls. The results were
published last week on the federation's website.
Some 87.9 percent of the children surveyed said they were willing to
stay with their parents. About 90 percent said they felt insecure when
they were left alone.
The five most pressing concerns for such children are tutoring,
psychological help, security, financial support and communications.
To deal with the issue, a dozen government-related bodies, including
the Office of the Rural Workers United Conference under the State Council
and ACWF, set up a working panel in October last year.
The panel is to cooperate with other government bodies, including the
Education, Public Security and Finance ministries, to gradually put in
place laws and regulations to safeguard the rights of stay-at-home