- CNTV English - CCTV News

One child blues

12-15-2011 16:19 BJT

by Yi Ling and Qian Rong

BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- China's first generation of "only child", once seen as a family center in their childhood as the sun to the solar system, may never feel so lonely, when it comes to the time to practice the "universal social principle" to take care of their aging parents.

"It was nice to be the focus of the family when I was a kid, surrounded by the people who loved me," says Cao Yanhui, an advertiser from Beijing.

"But now, if I was still a star, then there were at least four planets on different obits needing my energy," says Cao, referring to her parents and in-laws.

Not since the 32-year-old discovered, only two months ago, that her parents had "moved in" the same city she lives for more than three years from central China's Hunan Province, has Cao felt the urgency of her responsibility to take care of her parents.

"My parents bought a small apartment in suburban Beijing in 2008, but they never said anything about that," says Cao. "It was a big surprise, and I'm not sure if it's a happy one. My husband and I aren't ready for this."

China's National Population and Family Planning Commission announced in 2007 that the number of "only children" living in China at that time was around 90 million. The number is believed to be over 100 million at the present time.

Cao and her husband both come from single-child families. After Cao gave birth to a boy last June, she found that she had what has been referred to as a "4-2-1" family; that is, a family that is made up of four grandparents, a couple and their child.

The "4-2-1" phenomenon is largely the result of the family planning laws China implemented in the 1980s to control its population, which had boomed since the 1950s.

Proponents of the one-child policy saw the country's population growth rate, which peaked at 2.09 percent in 1982, as a potential economic and political threat.

The policy proved to be effective. Some 30 years later, a census conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the population of the world's most populous country was shrinking, with the country's population growth rate falling to 0.57 percent in 2010.

However, a lower number of births leads to the creation of an "aging society," a phenomenon in which 10 percent or more of a country's population is at or above the age of 60. The NBS census showed an aged population of 177 million in China, or 13.26 percent of the entire population.

Figuring out how to take care of the country's elderly is a growing problem in China.

Chinese culture also comes into play; the concept of "filial piety," or pledging to take care of one's parents after reaching adulthood, was once taught as an inescapable responsibility. Those who fail to fulfill the filial responsibility will be regarded as a family shame.

It has become increasingly difficult for only children to follow this ancient practice, as they have no siblings with whom to share the responsibility. In addition, many of these children have moved away from the cities where their parents live, making it more complicated for their children to care for them.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program