When I first saw this picture I was obviously horrified. Then I read the story.
Here's Chuanliu: a guy with two kids. He's a rickshaw driver in Beijing. His wife is mentally disabled and spends her days picking up trash on the road. She is unable to care for the child. They have a two year old that has to be somewhere during the day while Chuanliu's at work. He's a migrant worker, so he can't get child care assistance from the Chinese government. Whatever arrangements he had made previously failed, because the month before this photo was taken, his four-year-old daughter was stolen. He said:
My wife can't take care of him and I have to work to support my family. So I chain him to a pole when I have a fare. I don't even have a picture of my daughter to use for a missing-person poster. I cannot lose my son as well.
So what should he have done? And this is one reason I blogged this story. It was something to realise that there really might have been no good solution. He apparently doesn't have other family to rely on. I suppose his thinking was that if the boy at least stayed where he parks his rickshaw, then he would be able to check on him between fares. Though Lao Lu was chained (which makes sense, because a kidnapper could undo others bindings) he had mobility and relative safety (compared to being left alone able to wander away).
Am I saying it's okay? No. Of course it's not okay for a two-year-old to be chained to a pole while his father works. But at least in this crap heap of a situation, his father loves him. He just can't provide for him, though he's trying. Apparently he's been offered large sums of money (probably by a family who have a daugher and can't try for a boy ~ highly valued in Chinese culture ~ because of the one child policy) to give his son up for adoption and refused. Good for him. He needs help, not to lose his last child.
I imagine it must have been with some desperation that he came to this solution and it must have been humiliating to have someone take a picture of his son and expose their plight to the world. But a child care centre owner in Beijing saw the story and now Lao Lu will be in free child care for the next three years. May that person get twice the karma points they deserve. I wonder how many other centre owners read the story and just sat back and judged him as a bad parent.
Labels: kids, people, the world, things that make you think