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June 9, 2013
Lu Lingzi - Bombing Victim

Lu Lingzi – Bombing Victim

The terrorism that struck Boston on April 15 this year is connected to an amazing story in the news, stretching across the globe, all the way from China. One of the victims of the attack was a young Boston University graduate student named Lu Lingzi. Lu was also a Chinese citizen. Her death turned her family into one of many “shidu,” a Chinese term defined as “lost only one” and refers to Chinese families whose only child has died. Since China adopted the one-child policy as an effective response to the country’s out of control projected population growth in the late 1970’s.

It is no secret that China has a weak social welfare system. One of the major drawbacks to the one-child policy effects aging parents who not only have had to go through the horribly devastating pain of living through the death of their only child, but they also have to face the challenges of not having anyone to care for them in their old age.

According to Xinhua, the state newswire, there have been more than one million Chinese families who have lost their only child since 1979 when the one-child policy was enacted. An annual report by Chinese Ministry of Health in 2012 claims 76,000 Chinese families lose their only child each year. Last year, close to 100 parents from all over China who lost their only child marched to Bejjing in protest. This past month, almost 500 parents protested in front of the National Family Planning office in Bejjing.

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

When the government first proposed the one-child act, they promoted it by promising that the government would help aging Chinese parents who lost their only child. In reality, the current monthly compensation for parents who have lost their only child varies for the different provinces on China and ranges from $16 to $32. There is also a signature from an offspring required for admittance into nursing homes in China. China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs Beijing bureau promised to amend this policy, however as of yet, it still remains unchanged.

China’s family planning department coerced women into having abortions if they become pregnant with a second child. Coercion has been reported by many to consist of threats of the head of the household losing their job and the family losing their home. While these allegations have not been confirmed, there are reports of forced abortions that have caused international outcry in recent years.

This March, data released by the Chinese Ministry of Health confirms 336 million abortions and 222 million sterilizations performed on both men and women in the last 42 years. The best statistical information available here in the US, approximates over 55 million abortions over the same time period.

American Flag

American Flag

Imagine having to have an abortion by decree, or you or your spouse being forced to sterilize yourselves. It seems so easy to find everything wrong with our country while forgetting all the things that are right with it. Maybe we can promise ourselves not to lose sight of the amazing gift we have been given and to value it. Maybe by remembering how wonderful what we have truly is, we can work with the right approach and perspective to make it even greater and better!


I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

One Comment
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