Precious but Precarious: Wenchuan’s Second Families

 
 
  Lu Shihua poses with his 8-year-old daughter, Rui, in Piankou Township, Sichuan province, March 2018. Lu married his second wife, Duan Benju, and had Rui after the earthquake claimed the life of his 16-year-old daughter, Fang. Eileen Guo for Sixth Tone

Lu Shihua poses with his 8-year-old daughter, Rui, in Piankou Township, Sichuan province, March 2018. Lu married his second wife, Duan Benju, and had Rui after the earthquake claimed the life of his 16-year-old daughter, Fang. Eileen Guo for Sixth Tone

SIXTH TONE - May 10, 2018

I spent several weeks interviewing the families that chose to have children again in the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, and the precarious financial situations that they find themselves in today: 

"In the months and years after initial rescue and humanitarian aid efforts gave way to reconstruction, the Chinese government made a rare exemption to the one-child policy, allowing and even encouraging parents whose children were killed or left disabled to get pregnant again, even performing reverse sterilizations.

The first children resulting from this new policy were born in 2009, and on April 24, 2018, a local paper reported that Beichuan’s 1,000th post-earthquake baby had been born. There are no available figures on just how many of these children there are throughout the region, but in Piankou, Duan Benju, who works at the local primary school as the dorm monitor for the girls who board there, knows of at least 10 such families in the town — just one of hundreds affected. That Piankou was left structurally intact is a testament to the fact that not all of the quake’s devastation was visible."

Read online, and also check out my other Sichuan Earthquake coverage: