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Better Care Urged for Stay-at-home Rural Children

A senior Chinese legislator has urged the government to provide better social services for rural children who have been left in the countryside while their parents seek work in the cities.

An estimated 58 million children had been left in the countryside by their parents, said Li Jianguo, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), in a report on the implementation of the Law on the Protection of Juveniles at the fourth session of the 11th NPC Standing Committee on Thursday.

A sample census in 2005 showed 8.55 million of those children were aged 3 or 4, and only 41 percent of them received nursery care, Li said.

These children faced many problems with education, mental health and security, which would negatively affect their physical and mental health due to a lack of early education and family support, he said.

Li suggested that the government include preschool education for these children in the "New Countryside Building Project", and establish more nurseries in rural areas. He urged local governments to ensure children who stayed with their migrant parents in cities receive a good education.

(Xinhua News Agency August 29, 2008)

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