Left-behind boy addicted to smoking at 4

By Wu Jin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, January 29, 2018
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With a cigarette held between his index and middle fingers, the smoker shook off the tobacco ash while lolling on a hard wooden-made lounger cross-legged.

A four-year-old boy was spotted in a video lolling on a couch holding a cigarette between his index and middle fingers.

His action was spotted in a video, where his dexterous gestures would have been considered nothing unusual for a veteran smoker – except, the smoker was only four-years-old.

"He completely overturned my outlook on modern life," said a netizen after watching the video.

"It really scared me. It was simply too terrible. He should be educated, for, after all, he is only aged four," commented Yumiaoyumiao (an alias) on social media.

Identified as a left-behind child in Xinhua Town, Hunan Province, the boy lived with his grandparents while his parents worked away in a big city. Because his grandmother needed to spend most of her time doing housework, the boy had been left to the custody of his grandfather, a mahjong addict.

According to locals, the effects of nicotine have already turned the boy into a confirmed smoker, enticing him to pick up stubs discarded on the roads or steal cigarettes from local groceries now and again ever since he was about two.

"He is even more miserable than the 'Ice Boy'," commented China Youth Daily. The "Ice Boy" is from Yunnan Province, whose image went virial online a few days ago due to his frosted hair after he had finished a one-hour journey between home and school among the mountains in mid-winter to attend class.

"The 'Ice Boy' at least can enjoy the love and care from family and teachers; but the smoking toddler prone to the bad influence is jeopardizing his future with a disabled judgement between good and evil," the newspaper added.

It advised community-level governments to conduct thorough research among the left-behind children in their jurisdictions, providing information to local police to ensure the custodians carried out their duties in a responsible manner.

It also emphasized the irreplaceable role of proper parenting, suggesting it would be better if at least one of the parents could give up their jobs in other places and stay nearby to look after their children.

The town government recently sent officials to see the boy's family, trying to persuade the old couple to give more attention to their grandson. However, some netizens blamed the parents, saying it is because of their absence that the boy has already become a delinquent.

However, there are also voices excusing the parents, saying they are family bread earners with little choice in today's tough world.

According to data from the Ministries of Civil Affairs, Education and Public Security, in 2016, China had about 9.02 million left-behind children aged below 16 in rural areas, among whom 360,000 were living without the presence of any custodians. 

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