One-Child Policy Renders 20-Year-Old "Over-Quota" Girl Ineligible for School
IMAGE: CNN
 
 
Beijing, China -- In China, the reason why someone cannot go to school can be very simple: by being the second child of a family. Such is the case for 20-year-old Li Xue, who, along with millions of other “over-quota” children in the country, is not entitled to receive formal education. Furthermore, without a government-issued registration certificate, Li Xue is not permitted to borrow books from a public library when she wants to read, or to purchase medicine from a local hospital when she falls sick.

 

Li Xue’s hardship highlights the injustice of China’s coercive family planning system. Under the One-Child Policy, only firstborns can automatically receive a hukou, the official identification needed for access to education, subsidized health care, employment, and other social benefits. In Beijing, where the policy is strictly enforced, families must pay a substantial fine to register each subsequent child for a hukou. Since her parents were unable to afford the ¥5,000 penalty, Li Xue is now left without an identity.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Li’s persistent efforts to obtain a hukou for their daughter have seen no promising results. In 2001, after presenting their case to legal authorities, the couple were harassed and severely beaten by the local police, leaving Mrs. Li wounded in bed for almost two months. The case is now being examined by the Beijing High People’s Court, but Mr. Li doubts that the outcome will be in their favor. “The only thing we want is an explanation of why our daughter has no hukou, and no more,” he expressed truthfully.

 

At 20 years of age, Li Xue has never abandoned her deep passion for learning. She often begs her older sister for lessons, so that she can catch a bare glimpse of what it is like to be a student. For the past two years, Li Xue has also been an active blogger on Weibo, a popular social networking site in China. By sharing her story with the vast online community, Li Xue hopes to awaken public awareness about the grim realities of the One-Child Policy.

 

Unfortunately, not every “over-quota” child in China is as optimistic as Li Xue. This past summer, 16-year-old Cai Yanqiong attempted to commit suicide by drinking pesticide after schools officials barred her from taking the college entrance exam. In a farewell note she left for her family members, Ms. Cai wrote, “Dear Brother, Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa, by the time you read these words, I will be long gone from this world. In the past, I didn’t believe in such thing as ‘fate’, but now I finally do.”

 

It is not too late for China’s leaders to realize their mistakes and to change their children’s “fate”. All Girls Allowed prays that the voices of people like Li Xue and Cai Yanqiong can be heard and understood, and that the Chinese government would eradicate the One-Child Policy for the betterment of posterity. May God move China into a brighter future—a future in which every children is free to learn, to dream, and to excel. We long for the day to come when the words “over-quota children” cease to exist, once and for all.




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This work explored the social effects of the first generation of women born under the One-Child Policy. It set out to demonstrate the impacts of the...