Inside Story

China’s abandoned children

Why are millions of youngsters left behind by parents in poverty seeking work in the cities?

China has been shocked by the apparent suicide of four children abandoned by their parents.

The five to 14-year-olds were left to fend for themselves in the southwestern province of Guizhou, one of China’s poorest regions.

First their mother moved out, then their father left to look for work.

The 14-year-old boy and his three sisters were later found dead after drinking pesticide.

Police say he left a suicide note, which read: “Thanks for your good intentions. I know you are good to me, but it is time for me to go. I swore I would not live beyond 15 years old, and death has been my dream for years.”

The tragedy is drawing attention to the millions of families in China, and worldwide, who are driven by poverty and torn apart, when one or both parents go off to find work in big cities, or abroad.

Presenter: Richelle Carey


Steve Tsang – senior fellow at the China Policy Institute at Nottingham University

Joe Lowry – Asia-Pacific spokesperson for the International Organisation for Migration

Shajeer Hussein – taxi driver in Qatar who left wife and child in India