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Unplanned” children hope for changes after China ends one-child policy

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BEIJING — For 22 years, Li Xue has lived as a phantom, banished from mainstream life by China's "one child" policy. And even now that the Communist Party has declared an end to that policy, she said, there appears to be no quick end to the limbo of many children born, like her, "outside the plan."

22年来,李雪(音)一直像幽灵般地生活着,由于中国的“独生子女”政策,她被排斥在主流生活之外。她说,即使中国已经宣布结束这一政策,许多像她这样的“计划外”孩子的边缘生活看上去也不会很快结束。

"Li Xue is a Chinese citizen," her mother, Bai Xiuling, said in an interview. "But nobody acknowledges her existence. Only her family does."

“李雪是中国公民,”她的母亲白秀玲(音)说,“但没人承认她的存在,只有家人承认。”

The second daughter of a blue-collar family in southern Beijing, Ms. Li was born contrary to the rules that have limited most urban couples to one child. Like quite a few such "illicit household" children, she grew up, essentially, as a stateless inhabitant of her own country — without the identity documents, rights and services that usually come with citizenship. She never went to school, and has struggled to find work.

李雪出生在北京的一个蓝领家庭,是家里的老二,从而违反了计划生育政策。该政策使得大部分城镇夫妇只能生育一个孩子。就像不少她这样的“非法”孩子一样,李雪作为无国籍居民长大成人了。她没有身份证,无法享有通常伴随公民身份而来的权利和服务。她从来没上过学,也很难找到工作。

"There's just too much I have to deal with compared with normal people," Ms. Li, a petite, soft-spoken woman, said Friday while on break from her job as a waitress. "I shouldn't be made responsible for this."

“与普通人相比,我有太多的问题要应对,”身材娇小、说话轻声细语的李雪说,“我不应该背负这些。”

Ms. Li's story illustrates how China's family planning rules have had repercussions far more complicated and enduring than just limiting the number of children. Without the residence permit and identity card that nearly all Chinese carry, people like Ms. Li have no access to education or health care. Good jobs and marriage licenses are out of reach as well.

李雪的故事说明,中国的计划生育政策远不仅仅限制了儿童数量,还产生了复杂和持久得多的反响。如果没有几乎所有中国人都要携带的暂住证和身份证,像李雪这样的人就不能接受教育或享受医保。好工作和结婚证同样遥不可及。

Ms. Li said that she felt nothing more than muted curiosity when the television news announced on Thursday evening that the Communist Party would allow all couples to have two children.

当电视新闻在29日晚间宣布允许所有夫妇可以生两个孩子的时候,她的内心只是感到十分好奇。

She wondered if the relaxation would help people like her, but also said she had endured too many false hopes to expect that the latest shift would open the way to better treatment for families like hers.

她想知道,政策的放松是否将有助于像她这样的人。但她也说,她之前已经有过太多虚幻的希望,难以想象这一最新转变能让像她这样的家庭改善境况。

"It's been 22 years and we've already been through a lot," she said. "The government has talked about legislation and policy changes, but I feel we just have to wait and watch, and hope that afterward they will implement or enforce these things."

“22年了,我们经历了很多,”她说,“政府一直在谈论法律和政策变化,但我觉得我们必须拭目以待,希望以后政府能落实这些政策。”

Births have been regulated by a tangle of rules, and families deemed in violation were often caught in a labyrinth of punishments, fines and deprivations enforced by the local police and family planning officers. Not all children have faced the dire consequences Ms. Li has, but the family planning administration has inspired intense anger among many people.

在中国,生孩子受到一系列法规的监管,被认为违反法规的家庭常常会受到警察和计划生育部门的处罚,权利遭到剥夺。并非所有孩子都面临李雪那样的可怕后果,但计划生育部门引起许多人的愤怒。

Millions of Chinese people live without the "residence permit," or hukou, that serves as a kind of passport, allowing them to navigate the bureaucracy. This year, a government researcher, Wan Haiyuan, estimated that at least 6.5 million Chinese had no official status because they were born outside the family planning rules.

数以百万计的中国人在没有户口的情况下生活。据国家发改委的副研究员万海远估计,至少有650万中国人由于在“计划生育政策外”出生而没有正式的身份。

2016-06-23

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