torsdag 11. april 2024

Do China’s ‘Left-Behind’ Children Have a Delinquency Problem?

The tragic murder of a 13-year-old boy by his classmates in the northern province of Hebei earlier last month has once again raised public fears of rising delinquency among China’s 9 million “left-behind” children.

Left-behind children are minors whose parent or parents have migrated for work and left them in the care of family in their home communities. Due to a mix of underdeveloped social and economic conditions in rural areas, combined with inadequate supervision and support from adults, scholars like Rachel Murphy have found left-behind kids fare worse than those who live with both parents in a wide range of metrics, from school performance to physical development and mental health. Their vulnerable situation has drawn significant public attention and garnered extensive media coverage. The media, in particular, has portrayed their lives in intricate detail, highlighting their feelings of exclusion and isolation, and at times, their delinquent behavior, while calling attention to the need for care resources in the countryside.