Friday, February 11, 2011

The State of the Young & the Elderly in China

The toll of China's rapid industrialisation is being born by the vulnerable: the land, the children, and the elderly.  An article in the Financial Times of London on 4 February 2011 details the lives of a few of the 58 million, yes, 58 million, children who are being cared for in dormitories, a.k.a orphanages in rural areas, while their parents work in factories in cities far away.  These children are seen by their parents maybe once a year.  Their parents place them in these schools/dormitories to keep them from becoming street urchins.  The grandparents often care for these children until they are adolescent; however, the grandparents are generally illiterate, so the parents feel the children are better off in dormitories.

At the other end of the age spectrum, adult children are being "encouraged" to spend more time with their elders, who are being neglected for the same reason the young children mentioned above: adult children are needing to work in factories far away inorder to try and better their lives.  See the article on this in the New York Times.

Illegal mining for "rare earth minerals" is causing incredible degradation and poisoning of the land, especially farm land, in China.  Farmer's are finding their wells poisoned; people getting ill; the land too sick to use.

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