Chinese reflect on education after girl forces mom to abort

Updated: 2015-01-21 11:45


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BEIJING - A woman aborted her second baby in Central China's Hubei province after her 13-year-old daughter threatened to commit suicide.

The event drew people's attention to the single child mentality, which may be an obstacle as the country tries to relax the single-child policy.

The woman, 44, had been pregnant for 13 weeks. Her daughter became unhappy after knowing that she was going to have sibling. Her anxiety reached its peak when the ninth-grader cut her wrists with a razor blade in an attempted suicide, according to a report of the local Wuhan Evening News earlier this week.

The case may sound extreme, but the girl is not the only child in China showing jealousy of a younger sibling.

Zhuang Zhuang (not his real name) was 16 when his younger brother was born last year. Since then he's fallen behind in his classes.

"They never cared about me again," the teenager complained. "I'm under great pressure to do well in academic performances, so as to win attention from my parents."

The one-child policy was relaxed in 2013, in an attempt to address the country's declining labor force and aging population.

A majority of the Chinese provincial regions, including the most populated Henan, have allowed couples to have a second child if either parent is an only child. Beijing followed suit last December.

Although 11 million couples have been granted a permit to have a second child, statistics from the National Health and Family Planning Commission show only close to one million couples out of them filed birth applications by the end of last year.

"Economic cost," "time cost" and "one child is enough" were listed as top reasons for not having a second child, according to a survey by China Youth Daily. Many parents give the third reason out of concern for their first child.

Xia Xueluan, a sociology professor at Peking University, believes the one-child policy, enacted more than three decades ago, created many young "emperors" and "empresses" in China.

"Parents spoiled their children, so many kids tend to be self-centered without consideration for others," he said.

Journalist Fang Qingjiang pointed out in an editorial for Beijing Morning Post that abortion was not the end of the story for the young girl who attempted to take her own life.

"The problem was not solved in this way," he said. "Parents should learn to teach their children to be loving, so as to expect the younger brothers and sisters with joy in their heart."

The view was echoed by microblogger Fu Qinghuan on Sina Weibo.

"The event should prompt parents to reflect on their way of raising their children," she said. "Chinese parents tend to make decisions themselves, and seldom have heart-to-heart talks with their children. Hopefully this case could give people a lesson and they will take better care of the mentality of their children."