Empty homes, broken families

Updated: 2012-04-24 07:53

By He Dan (China Daily)

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Marriages destroyed

The inability to become pregnant after losing a child can endanger or even destroy some marriages. One retired teacher from Wuhan, who would only speak on condition of anonymity, said her ex-husband and in-laws could not accept the fact that there was no heir to continue the family line after their daughter died from congenital heart disease in 2001, when the mother was 47 years of age.

"My physical condition did not allow me to bear another child and we could not agree on the idea of adoption, so my husband asked for a divorce in 2003 and quickly married a young woman to have a child," she said.

She was forced to move from the family apartment and has lived with her mother and her brother's family since then. Although she realizes that her brother's home is only a temporary shelter, she faces an awkward situation. Her monthly pension of 1,200 yuan isn't enough to buy a home, but is too high for her to qualify for government-subsidized housing. "I just can't figure out how I ended up like this," she said.

Yang Weiguo and Cai Li, from Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi province, sued Liao Weiming, a former vice-president of Jiangxi Agriculture University, who killed their daughter, a university student studying accountancy, when driving drunk. In total, two people died in the incident and four others were injured. Liao was sentenced to just three years in prison and was ordered to pay total compensation of 2 million yuan.

Empty homes, broken families

Yang Weiguo and his wife Cai Li, from Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi province, have attempted to highlight a lack of government and social support by asking for a symbolic 1 yuan as compensation for the loss of their daughter, Yang Fei, who was killed by a drunk driver. [Photo/China Daily]

Yang and his wife received roughly 800,000 yuan to pay for the medical and funeral expenses, but the court rejected their claim for a symbolic 1 yuan as specific compensation for the loss of their daughter, because it found no legal basis in Chinese law to support the request. Now the couple is awaiting a reply from the court of appeal. "We guess the result will not differ from the first trial, but it's not about the money. What we want is more attention and support from the government and society," said Yang.

Empty homes, broken families

A portrait of Yang Fei in the family home. [Photos by Jiang Dong / China Daily]