China currently has 573,000 orphans, among whom 66,000 have been adopted by government-sponsored orphanages, said Li Liguo, China's vice minister of civil affairs, on Thursday.
"New orphan problems such as the insufficient basic maintenance and the incomplete orphanage salvation system have frequently emerged," Li said at a press conference.
In China, nearly 80 percent orphans, aged under 18, are adopted by relatives, mostly grandparents who are in their 70s or 80s and are living under the poverty line, according to the ministry.
Some orphans live with their uncles or aunts in China. The adoption, considered as the family's overburden, often stirs conflicts in families and such adopted children always roam about the streets and may commit juvenile delinquency after making bad friends, said Li.
In China, children under 15 years old who lost one parent have reached as many as 76,000, Li said.
Relevant departments in China are currently improving the orphanage salvation system, including providing orphans life subsistence cost no lower than the local average, building and restructuring orphan-adoption facilities and offering more financial assistance to orphans' education, medical treatment, employment and lodging.
(Xinhua News Agency January 5, 2006)