Experts call on migrant parents to watch kids

Updated: 2011-10-21 08:20

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)

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Experts call on migrant parents to watch kids

Doctors announce at a news conference on Thursday that Yue Yue's condition has worsened. [Provided to China Daily] 

GUANGZHOU - Chen Shuyi is a child of few words.

When she wants to tell her parents that she has to go to the bathroom, the way she usually does so is by shouting for help.

The 2-year-old girl also has few toys to play with and little to do in her long hours of leisure besides walking alone outside her parents' hardware shop.

Her parents, who hail from Sichuan province, run their shop in a hardware market in Foshan, the same city where another child of migrant workers, Yue Yue, suffered serious injuries this past week after being twice run over by vehicles.

"We don't have time to take care of her because our business is so busy," said the girl's father, Chen Junming.

The girl is one of many children who are often left alone by their migrant-worker parents in Guangdong. Like the Chens, many of them have come to the province, a manufacturing hub, to run small businesses.

Asked about leaving his child alone, Chen said: "We know this is not good."

Learning of Yue Yue's accident has made Chen want to send his daughter back to the family's hometown.

"We are really worried about whether kids are safe in the roads here," he said. "You must have seen that many vans and trucks drive the small roads in this market."

Migrant workers' children were victims in a third of the more than 1,000 accidents that involved children in Guangdong this past year. A large contributor to those unfortunate events was parents' neglect, said Zeng Jinhua, director of the Guangdong Youth and Children Research and Development Center.

Guangdong is home to a migrant population of about 37 million, which comprises a third of the province's total population and a seventh of the country's migrant population.

Because of their lack of money, migrant workers usually cannot pay housekeeping companies to take care of their children, Zeng said.

"Parents don't have time to spend with their kids," he said. "So their children are usually playing or walking alone. That poses great dangers to these children."

Since Yue Yue was alone on a road in a hardware market and then hit by two vehicles, psychologists have called on migrant parents to pay more attention to their children's safety.

The market in Foshan contains more than 2,000 small businesses, most of which are run by migrant workers.

"We don't talk to each other a lot while we're doing business here," said a shop owner whose surname is Du. "That's why so many passers-by didn't offer to help Yue Yue when she was down in the road."

Zeng Yingru, deputy sectary of the Communist Youth League's Guangdong committee, said volunteering services will soon be offered to protect migrant workers' children in the province.

Yue Yue's condition, meanwhile, has worsened. At a news conference on Thursday, Su Lei, director of the intensive care unit of the General Hospital of the Guangzhou Military Command of the People's Liberation Army, said many of her internal organs have deteriorated and that the hospital has told her parents that she is in a critical condition.

On Wednesday morning, her heart stopped beating abruptly and was only made to start again after she had undergone 40 minutes of treatment.

Li Wenfang contributed to this story.