China's one child policy has hurt many families

The Tiens mourn the loss of their only son, who died of cancer at the age of 21. (Source: CNN)
The Tiens mourn the loss of their only son, who died of cancer at the age of 21. (Source: CNN)

BEIJING, CHINA (CNN) – China has announced a change to its one child policy on Friday, but the change comes far too late to help some people.

One Chinese couple's only child died of cancer at the age of 21.

The name carved on the headstone is Tien Yao, his parent's only son. He died of cancer last year at just 21-years-old. The loss left his family shattered.

While other families celebrate a spring festival together, his mother cries. China's one-child policy has gone tragically wrong.

There's no bitterness, just concern about how they will managed in a country where pensions are low and children are expected to look after their parents in old age.

"A lot of people before us and after us supported the policy," Tian Lianpiao said. "We supported it. But the current policy does not have a concrete plan and although little by little, they are trying to make it complete, I think that the government will not care for us. We're 50. As we get older, what will happen?"

Of course, for a parent, the loss of a child is always deeply traumatic and sad. But in China, because of the strict one-child policy, the death of a daughter or a son can be even more devastating, depriving millions of families, not just of a loved one, but of a future.

Help is scarce, but at the offices of the Love Delivery hotline, an aid agency in Beijing, childless pensioners are offered counseling and financial support to enter retirement homes. But organizers say the Chinese government should do more.

"They need a policy for the consequences of the one-child policy," care worker Xu Kun said. "What you see is middle aged and elderly people facing the difficulties of growing old without anyone to depend on. They must quickly implement policies that compensate them for this."

Back at their son's grave, the parents of Tien Yao are overwhelmed.

"Let's go now, or we'll even be more sad," his mother sobbed.

For Many of China's bereaved parents, mere compensation could never be enough.

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