Things revealed more as we entered day 2. The children of this batch are all studying in Shanghai. However as their parents do not have Shanghai Hukou, they cannot attend Shanghai public schools.

Qing pu Day 2 shortA Hukou is a record in the system of household registration (imagine a passport linked only to a particular city). A child automatically inherits a Hukou from his parents’. That is, parents from Henan province have Hukou in Henan so do their children. It is hard to obtain Hukou in a new city to enjoy social benefits (such as public schooling) elsewhere without employer sponsorship.

In order to have a better life, their parents migrated to Shanghai to take labor jobs. Shanghai is expensive so they all live close to the factories, which are usually far from city centres and subsequently cheaper. These remote (newly developed) places have fewer schools, hospitals, not to mention educational agencies such as museums, libraries, playgrounds. The rain poured cats and dogs today, our car drove on the flooded road as if it were a boat. (Road situation is very bad). What is abundant are internet-cafes, where the children spend their pocket money and long time playing computer games.

A natural segregation has already appeared. For children whose parents have time and money, they will go to museums, learn a second/third language, go travel, do volunteer works early in lives. Their intelligence will develop earlier and to greater degree. For children whose parents are busy making money and have no time (some parents see children twice a week during factory breaks), they receive weekly stipend and spend mostly on junk food and Internet cafes.

Life is never perfectly fair. On one side, I am happy for them as they are fed and clothed. On the other side, I ask this question – are they being fed and clothed spiritually. I wish their future well.


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