China: New Guidelines to Protect Children of Migrant Parents

February 16, 2016


China has issued new guidelines to protect the children of migrant parents. The State Council, China’s cabinet has released guidelines to protect “left-behind” children. These children’s parents work away from home. The Chinese government has outlined different responsibilities for parents, government and society towards these children.


Li Keqiang, the current Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, signed the guidelines. According to these rules local government and village committees should keep all the information and updates of these children within their jurisdiction. It also emphasized on the basic responsibilities of parents. The guidelines also stated that schools and education authorities also have responsibility towards them.

Xinhua stated that the governments of township will have to help these children to talk with their parents by video chat or phone and also need to set up a file for each child. Village officials and party members have to visit these children on regular basis.

Those migrant workers who can take their children with them should do so, else one parent must stay with the child.  Those who cannot do this must have to appoint a responsible guardian for their children.

According to BBC around 61 million children are “Left-behind” by their migrant parents. This is mainly because most of these parents have to leave their children behind their villages so they can avail the public services, like education and health care.  These children can only have access to these services from their own villages.

The guidelines have come in the wake of reform in household registration. It has been expected that more than 100 million people will permanently relocate to towns and cities.

These new rules are also the result of many untoward incidents related to the “left-behind children”. In 2013 the country was shocked by the surge in sexual abuse cases involving these children.

Recent reports on child abduction cases in China are also very disturbing and these only emphasis the fact that the country is witnessing more and more child abuse cases. Although, more than fear of abduction, heartbreaking news like last year’s suicide of four children in south west China are the main reason behind the guidelines.

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