Quake-struck families allowed new births

2008-07-25 15:58:45 GMT       2008-07-25 23:58:45 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

CHENGDU, July 25 (Xinhua) -- China's quake-hit Sichuan Province on Friday passed a regulation to allow families who lost their children in the May 12 earthquake to have new births.

The rule, adopted by the standing committee of the Sichuan provincial legislative body, said a family who lost an only child, or in which the child was disabled, or a family with two children who were both disabled in the disaster, can have a new birth.

A one-child family in which either the husband or wife was disabled, could also have a new birth, the rule said.

"The adjustment is to effectively solve the practical difficulties of the families who have had members killed or injured in the May 12 Wenchuan quake," said Wang Yukun, standing committee deputy chairman.

"The move also reflects the principle of putting people first in the post-quake reconstruction," Wang said.

The 8.0-magnitude quake in Sichuan has left nearly 100,000 people dead, missing or disabled. About 18,000 families lost children in the quake, according to a survey by Sichuan's population and family planning body.

In Deyang City, a worst-hit area, 74 percent of parents of child-bearing age who lost their children have considered having a child, according to the city's family planning authorities.

Even two to three days after the quake, some parents went to family planning authorities to consult on new birth policies. China began to implement its family planning policy in the late 1970s to encourage one couple to have only one child.

Liu Jinliang of Luocheng Village in Deyang, lost his 14-year-old daughter in the quake. Liu's wife, Liu Tianjing, has missed her daughter so much that she is often in tears at home.

"We ourselves want to have a child," said the husband. "Only by having a child can a family be complete."

"I am only 37 years old and can have a birth," said the wife.

In Deyang, families with children killed in the quake have each been given subsidies of more than 90,000 yuan (13,235 U.S. dollars).

The Sichuan provincial legislative body promulgated the new rule after carrying out research in the worst-hit areas about the wish of having births among couples whose children died or were injured in the quake.

After the rule was adopted, the next step was to make every family know the policy, said a senior provincial family planning official.

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