As millions of farmers move into cities for job opportunities, their children are often left behind in the rural areas. It's reported that the number is now more than 4 million. As our reporter Zhang Lu finds out in Sichuan, these children are in need of parental love and care. Poverty reduction is the key to addressing this issue.
It's lunch time. Gu Jinxia and Gu Jinli are cooking. Usually, there is only one dish for each meal. Today it's haricot beans. No one will come to join them. The 14-year-old twin sisters have lived alone for years. Their parents are now working in cities.
Gu Jinli said, "We have lived by ourselves for more than 6 years. It will soon be 7 years. Mother is working in Meishan. Father is in Jiangsu."
Besides taking care of themselves, the two girls also perform all of the housework. They tend to the family's corn and rice farm. They also raise chickens as food for the Chinese lunar new year, when their parents will return.
As China's economy booms, millions of farmers are moving to cities to pursue opportunities. But in most cities, current regulations make it nearly impossible for migrant children to attend school. With little income, many migrant workers have to leave their children at home, unattended and without care.
Jinli and Jinxia frequently go to the village's "Left Behind Children's Care Center" on weekends. Like the twins, many of the children here stay on their own or with just one parent.
"My father works in Liangshan."
"My parents are in Shenzhen."
"My father has just come back."
"My father is in Beijing."
Group activities can be fun for these lonely children, but they can never replace parental love.
Paintings reveal their dreams of united and happy families.
Jin Dali, who is also a left behind child, said, "This is me. This is my second sister. This is my oldest sister. This is my mother and this is my father."