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Quake policies to comfort bereaved parents
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As International Children's Day is approaching on Sunday, the Chinese government has promptly issued policies for parents whose children were killed in the May 12 earthquake.
 Hu Jintao expresses concern for children

Families with children who died or were disabled in the quake should be given "due consideration in terms of re-birth policies," according to a statement released by the earthquake relief headquarters of the State Council on Friday.

The move was made to provide consolation to the thousands of parents who lost their only children in the devastating quake that shook Sichuan and the neighboring Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, among others.

Sitting numbly in a tent in Mianzhu City, 26-year-old Wang Wenying murmurs the name of her dead son, Zeng Yu.

"Indeed, having another baby could ease our pain of bereavement," she said, adding it was still too early to think of it and her husband and her needed some time to pacify themselves.

Zeng and his grandpa were on a bus when the massive quake jolted the mountainous area of southwestern China. They have not been seen since.

"The day after the children's day will be his fifth birthday," Wang said. "He was cute and dear to us. I should preserve a room for him in my heart forever."

The quake, so far, has killed 68,977 and left 17,974 others missing.

Wang Zaiyin, head of the Population and Family Planning Commission of Sichuan, estimated about 7,000 deceased and 16,000 injured were the only children of their families, although the exact numbers were still being counted.

With a population of more than 87 million, Sichuan has maintained tight control over child birth. In its family planning regulation there are 13 items under which parents could have more than one child -- death in an earthquake is not on the list.

"We will discuss with the provincial people's congress on Monday to amend the regulation as soon as possible," Wang said.

"Adjustment of the family planning policy in the disaster-hit regions is quite timely. It could soothe the anguish of parents," added Zhang Mincai, China Population Association secretary-general.

China's "one-child" policy has been in effect for more than three decades and has prevented an estimated 400 million births. It limits most urban couples to one child and rural couples to two.

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