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Family policy relaxed in Zhouqu

[ 2011-08-09 11:12]     字号 [] [] []  
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China has relaxed its family-planning policy for families who lost children in a massive mudslide that hit a northwestern county a year ago.

Women in Zhouqu can now get procedures that had made them infertile reversed free of charge, officials said on Friday. That announcement came on the eve of the one-year anniversary of a mudslide that had left more than 1,700 people dead or missing in the county on Aug 8, 2010.

On Monday, thousands of people stood in silence in this county to mourn the victims who were killed in the mudslide exactly a year ago.

Liang Jianjun, head of Zhouqu's family planning bureau, said the reversal operations have been performed on women from 27 families. "Some of these women are pregnant now," he said.

China's family-planning policy, which restricts most urban families to having one child, grants favorable treatment to families in the countryside and ethnic regions. In Zhouqu, most rural families can have two children while those in five towns and villages populated mostly by members of the Tibetan ethnic can have three.

The relaxation of the family-planning policy will let families who lost sons and daughters in the mudslide return to having as many children as they had before the disaster, officials said.

Yang Chaomei, the matriarch of a local family that lost all eight of its children in the mudslide, said she was pleased to see two of her daughters-in-law give birth after the disaster.

"I hope I can have a grandson who will inherit the family line," she said.

Besides the policy adjustment, a government-affiliated association said it will give a cash subsidy of 10,000 yuan ($1,550) to each of the 225 single mothers in Zhouqu who live below the poverty line.

Many of those mothers struggle to support their families by themselves, said Han Keyin, head of the women's federation of Gansu province.

Han said there are about 500 families with single mothers who are in need of assistance. The federation is also providing psychological consulting to help the mothers deal with the mental trauma caused by the disaster.

Meanwhile, a reconstruction of the county is under way.

Crews have started work on 108 out of the 170 projects needed to rebuild the county, which are expected to cost about 5 billion yuan, said Xia Hongmin, a governor assistant and head of a local panel in charge of coordinating the projects.

All of the projects are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012, while the construction of residential buildings, schools and medical institutes should be finished this year, according to the plan.

The authorities also set aside 1.34 billion yuan to restore the local environment - whose deterioration at the hands of humans contributed to the mudslide - and to strengthen measures taken to prevent disasters.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Family policy relaxed in Zhouqu

Family policy relaxed in Zhouqu

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.