Tuesday, June 17

Xinran and the fight for justice.

I've been a fan of Xue Xinran since I discovered one of her books at Hong Kong Airport in 2010 and cried almost non-stop as I read it.  It was Message from and Unknown Chinese Mother - and I subsequently read all of her books.

I am surprised that few of my friends who have been to China or are family with the country do not know of her books.   Within their pages are remarkable stories - as Xinran has interviewed so many people for her stories and they are often extremely heart renching.

While I was in China recently I came across this article on the Internet which reminded me of the works of Xinran.  I did some research and found that there is little/no information about her writings since 2010 - though I know she has committed herself to the Mother's Bridge of Love.

It is hard to comprehend - for the reasons are quite complex - how many children were separated from their real parents.  I know some of my students would tell - almost in a whisper that their brother or sister was not really a brother or sister, but a "cousin" - but even that seemed to be untrue.  Some couples took on the extra responsibility of another child - perhaps born outside the one child policy, or born to someone whose circumstances made it impossible for them to "own up" to having a child, or being unable to care for them in other ways.  Complex.

I was with families who had two children - often the older child was a girl, and the family paid officials to enable them to have a second (or third as it was in one case I knew) as they sought to produce a son and heir.  One of my students was an only child - and as a girl she was treated badly by her father who wanted a son.  There are many stories and reading any of Xinran's books will give one an idea of the complexity of the situation.

The Great Cultural Revolution separated families, and the One Child Policy made for difficult family decisions.

The article that took my interest explained that many people do not have birth certificates - for their births were not registered, and so as adults they are restricted in many things.  The article explains much of it - and how difficult it is for these "forgotten" children whose lives are amazingly difficult because they are not registered.  One would hope that action soon might change this for them - for they do exist and they should now be accepted and given documents that will enable them to be properly employed, properly education, and able to travel.

If you haven't read any of Xinran's books - they are well worth reading.  It will also give you a better understanding of some aspects of the complex culture of the Chinese.



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