One-child policy unchanged: Shanghai official

0 CommentsPrintE-mail Global Times, September 8, 2009
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Working for the man

When Lin Mian got pregnant, the Beijinger originally planned to take five months' unpaid leave from her job as a university professor. She hoped the baby would be born without the attention of colleagues at work, especially the leader of her work unit.

"At grass-roots level, we all try not to let the cat out of the bag," Lin said. But as is common in such cases, somebody somewhere leaked her secret.

The university president came to see Lin's family and talked to her in person, persuading her to resign. Otherwise, he would fire her because of the second child.

"Losing my job impacted economically less on my family life, but influenced me mentally and spiritually," Lin said. "From professor to housewife needed an adjustment of identity."

Lin instructed her 6-year-old son to tell others his mother was a professor – not a housewife – if asked.

Lin's husband works in a publishing company and since two years ago, his salary alone supports the whole family.

"It's very hard to find a job I am fit for. I am trying to help an NGO register, which is still very, very hard work," Lin said.

Raising her two boys, 2 and 6, costs about 10,000 yuan ($1,463) a month.

"It costs twice as much raising my second as it did raising my first."

The cost of raising a child differs a lot from generation to generation, Lin said. Lin pays 2,500 yuan in monthly education costs: a 1,500 yuan kindergarten and 1,000 yuan "children's palace" where children learn to paint, dance or play music.

With two siblings, Lin cannot legally have a second child and could expect to be fined a minimum 200,000 yuan if she registered that child in Beijing. But Lin does not regret her decision.

"I enjoyed a very happy life with my sister and brother and I want my offspring to have the same enjoyment of sibling company," Lin said, "even though I will be fined."

Lin will register the second child somewhere else, maybe her hometown in Jiangxi Province where the fine is 8,000 yuan.

Despite her decision, Lin supports China's one-child policy.

"China has a huge population and the elites may not welcome more children because China's current social reality offers slim opportunities to a normal child whose family background is plain – by which I mean lacking guanxi (social connections). "

Dream baby

Thirty-year-old Yan told Wenzhou Metropolis Daily she was "very satisfied" with her 6-month-old second son. Yan and her husband surnamed Yi are only children. Even during courting they had agreed on two children. After her second son, Yan became a stay-at-home mom.

"My husband and I really perceived it is harmful that one child grow up alone, especially when we are married. We found we quarreled about tedious things and neither of us would give in," said Yan, whose full name was not reported.

"We found couples with siblings are more accommodating and understanding about how to get along with each other.

"So if permitted, we wanted our children to grow up with the company of a brother or a sister, to make up for that disadvantage."

Yi said as an only child himself, he understood the loneliness.

"I experienced that in my own childhood," he said. "Every day, I led a solitary life under the constant care and tutelage of my elders: no playmates."

A brother or sister supporting each other as parents age and die helps a family to handle life's most serious issues, Yi was reported as saying.

"I'm certain that for one child I can afford the best including schooling and extracurricular activities," said Wu Lin, a cashier in a private company, "but if I had two children, each would receive half the same quality."

She calculated the total cost of a child from birth to graduation at nearly 500,000 yuan.

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