• LOGIN
  • No products in the cart.

China’s migrant children, a generation sacrificed for growth

migrant.jpg


Four-year-old Zou Ziyi sat quietly in a shabby classroom while the Walt Disney movie Frozen played on a television set. When the movie ended and the familiar theme song "Let It Go" began, Ziyi looked around at the other kids and seemed to want to say something. But he didn't. He speaks very little, and almost never forms complete sentences, the adults around him say.

四岁的邹子义(音)静静地坐在破旧的教室里,电视上放着迪士尼动画片《冰雪奇缘》。当电影结束时,熟悉的主题曲《随它吧》想起。子义看了看其他孩子,似乎想要说点什么。但他没有。周围的大人说,他说话很少,几乎不能说出完整的句子。

 

"He has been wearing the same suit for a week," said Wu Xinqin, a housewife who works part-time in a childcare center in Guangzhou. Ziyi's father, a motorcycle taxi driver who works until midnight every night, has little time for him, and his mother left the family last year. His grandfather Mr. Zou, a 55-year-old migrant worker from Hubei province, takes Ziyi home from childcare.

在广州一个托儿所兼职的家庭主妇吴新琴(音)说:"他一个礼拜都穿着同样的衣服。"子义的爸爸是一名摩的司机,每天都工作到深夜,没时间照顾他,他的妈妈去年离家出走。他的爷爷、来自湖北的55岁农民工邹老汉每天将子义从托儿所接回家。

 

Ziyi is the child of one of the 20 million-plus migrant workers in Guangdong province, China's manufacturing heartland. Compared to many left-behind children back in his parent's hometown of Jingmen, in the Hubei province, he is lucky in some ways—he lives with his father and grandfather.

子义是中国制造业中心广东省2000多万农民工子女中的一员。与许多家乡湖北省荆门市的留守儿童相比,在某种程度上他还是幸运的——他能与爸爸和爷爷住在一起。

 

But like many millions of other migrant children, Ziyi's life is far from easy. He spends most of the day in a charity childcare center, because the adults in his family have to work 10 hours a day and can't afford anywhere else.

但与其他数百万农民工子女一样,子义的生活非常不易。一天中大部分时间他都呆在托儿所里,因为家里的大人每天要工作10个小时,没法去其他地方。

 

He is getting no real education from either family or school, and little affection or social interaction. He spends his time alone, watching movies and looking at picture books. Over the course of a week at the childcare center, reporters saw Ziyi say only a few words—"elephant," "I want that," and "no."

他没有接受过真正的家庭或学校教育,缺少关爱和社会交往。他一个人呆着,看电视,看画书。在托儿所的一周里,记者只看到子义说过几个词——"大象"、"我要那个"、"不"。

 

A generation sacrificed for growth

牺牲成长的一代

 

For the past several decades, hundreds of millions of Chinese migrant workers have left their rural hometowns and flocked to the big cities, where they can usually find a better-paying job in manufacturing than in farming back home. This migration has been key to China's economic boom—manufacturing consistently made up about one-third of the nation's GDP even as the economy grew by 10% a year or more over the past decade.

几十年来,数亿农民工离开农村家乡,涌到大城市,通常他们能在工厂里找到一份比种地收入更高的工作。这种迁徙对中国的经济繁荣至关重要——10年来,中国经济在以10%或更快的速度增长,制造业一直占国内生产总值的三分之一左右。

 

But the offspring of these workers have had it rough. Some of these kids are in danger of becoming a lost generation in China, one that has been sacrificed to the country's dramatic economic growth.

但这些农民工的子女却过着艰难的生活。一些孩子有可能成为中国失落的一代,变成经济快速增长的牺牲品。

 

Because of the high costs of urban life, many migrant workers leave their children back home—or send them there—to be taken care of by extended family. The plight of China's "left-behind" kids, as these approximately 60 million children are known, gained national attention after four were fatally poisoned in June in the rural southwest. Officials have promised reform. "Such a tragedy cannot be allowed to happen again," premier Li Keqiang pledged, and ordered government ministries to step up their supervision of rural kids.

由于城市生活成本高,许多农民工把子女留在老家,由家人照顾。今年6月,贵州农村4名儿童服毒身亡后,大约6000万"留守"儿童的困境引发了全国关注。官员们表示要改变现状。李克强总理承诺,"悲剧不能一再发生",并责令政府部门加大对农村儿童的监管。

 

But nearly as many displaced children are growing up in China's urban centers, where they receive little attention from the government or society. Tens of millions of migrant workers have brought their kids with them to their jobs, and keep them in cities while they work.

但还有许多离乡背井的孩子生活在城市里,缺少政府或社会的关爱。数千万农民工把孩子带到城市里抚养。

 

Sometimes called "mobile" or "migrant" children, these kids and their families lack a local community support network, and often they don't qualify for government schools because of China's hukou system, a household-registration system that determines the kind of welfare benefits citizens can get. Migrant children who inherit the so-called "rural hukou" from their parents don't get the same rights as their new urban peers.

这些经常被称为"流动"儿童的孩子和他们的家庭缺少地方社会保障,由于中国的户籍制度,他们经常不符合公立学校的入学条件,这种家庭登记制度决定了公民享受的福利种类。流动儿童跟父母一样是"农村户口",因此无法享有跟城市同龄人一样的权利。

 

The number of migrant children is increasing. In 2010, one out of every four children in China's urban areas was a migrant child, according to a survey by the United Nations Children's Fund. In 2013, that proportion rose to one out of three—a total of 35.8 million kids.

流动儿童的数量在增加。根据联合国儿童基金会的一项调查,2010年中国城市中四分之一的孩子是流动儿童。2013年,这一比例增加到三分之一——流动儿童总数达到3580万。


Busy parents, lonely kids

忙碌的父母,孤单的孩子

Since the one-child policy was introduced in the 1970s, Chinese kids have been mostly brought up by a collective effort—their parents, together with four grandparents, take turns looking after them. (Some call this the 4-2-1 family structure, for four grandparents, two parents, one child.) Ideally, when migrant workers head to cities and leave their children behind, the extended family that stays behind babysits. When kids migrate with their parents to big cities, that system falls apart.

自从20世纪70年代实施独生子女政策以来,中国大多数孩子生活在众星捧月的环境中——父母和4个祖父母轮流照顾他们。(有人称之为4-2-1家庭结构,4个祖父母,2个父母,1个孩子。)理想情况下,如果农民工到城市去,把他们的孩子留在家里,家里人能照顾孩子。但如果孩子跟父母一起到大城市里,那么这一结构就瓦解了。

 

Ziyi's parents and grandfather moved to the area more than a decade ago. His mother left two years ago, and hasn't been heard from since. Ziyi has never seen the zoo, although his grandfather knows the little boy is obsessed with animals. Mr. Zou doesn't have time to bring him.

子义的父母和爷爷10多年前来到广州。他的妈妈两年前离家出走,至今没有音讯。子义从来没去过动物园,尽管爷爷知道小孙子很喜欢动物。邹老汉没有时间带他去。

 

Instead, Ziyi spends most of his time at a childcare center in the village. The two-floor center has a big classroom with books and a large television set on the ground floor, and a dining room and a kitchen. Next door is a railway ticket office where migrant workers queue up as early as 4am to get a ticket back home during the Chinese New Year. On any given morning, as many as 20 children will be dropped off at the center, where they spend most of the day singing karaoke and watching cartoons.

子义大部分时间都呆在托儿所里。两层楼的托儿所里有个大教室,里面有书和一台放在地上的大电视,还有一个餐厅和一个厨房。隔壁就是火车票售票处,在春节期间,农民工们凌晨4点就来排队买票。每天早上,大约20个孩子被送到托儿所,一整天基本上都在唱卡拉OK、看动画片。

 

There is only one full-time minder to watch the children, aided by a handful of part-time volunteers. They teach the children some basic reading and writing, and also other things like music and nature, but not in a systematic way.

只有一名全职工作人员看护孩子,还有一些兼职的志愿者。他们教孩子一些基本的阅读和写作,还有音乐和自然等课程,但都不是系统的教学。

 

Getting a good education is tough for migrant kids

农民工子女接受良好教育很难

 

Another reason that China risks raising a lost generation is because migrant children have limited access to decent schooling. In Guangzhou, primary schools are divided into two types: the better public ones and the largely unregulated private ones. The primary school system always favors local kids, and puts up huge hurdles for non-local parents:

中国可能出现失落的一代的另一个原因是农民工子女获得良好教育的途径有限。在广州,小学分成两种:一种是比较好的公立小学,一种是基本不受监管的私立小学。小学系统一直倾向于本地孩子,给外地家长制造了巨大的障碍。

 

There are 117 public primary schools and 24 public middle schools in Guangzhou's Panyu district, according to Guangzhou Daily. Starting from this year, the number of non-local students taken by public primary schools cannot exceed 10% of all newcomers each year, according to the district's education bureau.

《广州日报》报道,广州番禺区共有117所公立小学和24所公立初中。该区教育局规定,从今年开始,公立小学每年招收的新生中,外地学生数量不能超过10%。

 

Meanwhile, parents describe the area's private primary schools as incompetent and corrupt. Mrs. Jiang, from Sichuan province, has a seven-year-old daughter at one that asks the pupils to do the final exam before the exam date, so that they know the questions beforehand and can artificially inflate their test scores, she told reporters.

与此同时,家长们称该区私立小学没有资质,而且采取舞弊手段。来自四川的姜女士有一个7岁的女儿在私立小学上学,她告诉记者说,学校让孩子们在期末考试日期前就把考试卷子做了,这样他们就能提前知道题目,从而人为提高考试分数。

 

Of the over 20 children who come to the childcare center, only two go to a public school, said Zhao Kaiqiong, the center's only full-time child minder. Even though they are public, parents pay as much as $4,800—nearly their entire annual income—as an entry fee. Even that huge sum, which is paid to school administrators, isn't enough—parents also need guanxi, or social connections, to get their kids into a government school.

托儿所唯一的全职看护员赵开琼(音)说,在20多个孩子中,只有两个上了公立学校。即使是公立学校,家长还是要交4800美元赞助费,这相当于他们一年的收入。虽然这笔付给学校管理者的钱数目不菲,这还不够,家长们还要有关系才能让孩子上公立学校。

 

Zhao said she has worked with dozens of migrant children since the center was established nearly two years ago. "The government should relax the restrictions of access to public schools, making it more equal for local and non-local students," she said.

开琼说,近两年前托儿所成立以来,她已经看护了数十名农民工子女。她说:"政府应该放松公立学校的入学限制,让本地学生和外地学生享受更加公平的上学机会。"

2016-06-23

0 responses on "China's migrant children, a generation sacrificed for growth"

    Leave a Message

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Copyright ©right 2017 Chinlingo Inc. All rights reserved.