Children of migrant workers isolated in cities

Updated: 2011-09-08 07:00


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HANGZHOU - For the children of Chinese migrant workers, millions of whom have moved their families to the country's biggest cities to seek employment, life can be lonely and difficult.

Wang Qi, the daughter of a migrant couple, wants to return to her hometown in east China's Zhejiang province, even though she has lived with her parents in the province's capital city of Hangzhou for more than two years.

"I miss my hometown. Everything is good here in the city, but I don't have any friends," said the 12-year-old girl. "I'm so lonely."

She recently shocked her family by running away from home. After she wandered around the city for several days, she was eventually sent back to her parents by a local policeman.

Wang's feelings of loneliness and alienation are not unique to her. Hangzhou's Banshan district police station has received 13 reports since July of migrant children running away. Three of the children managed to return to their rural hometowns.

The number of Chinese migrant workers reached 242 million by the end of 2010. These migrants left behind 58 million children. Those who bring their children with them often work for 10 hours a day, seven days a week, giving them little time to spend with their families.