Monday, 23 July 2012

Depriving a Child of a Future

A year ago we read about a young girl who lost her parents but she survived the horrific Wenzhou high-speed train crash.

Xiang Weiyi, nicknamed "Yiyi", was the last person to be pulled alive from the July 23 wreckage which left 40 people dead and nearly 200 injured.

Now three-and-a-half years old, Yiyi should be entering kindergarten -- except no school will accept her because of her injured leg from the crash.

"They said she is still not completely recovered," said Xiang Yuyu, her father's younger brother. "They asked if she fell down, who should accept the responsibility? It's hard to identify who should be responsible," he said.

Xiang said Yiyi can walk, run and jump, though not as quickly or as smoothly as other children. Her left ankle is weak and she cannot stamp her heel. When she walks, her left foot splays outwards.

"But Yiyi's condition won't affect her studies or ability to fit into kindergarten," her uncle said.

Xiang keeps microblog called "Little Weiyi". In one posting he said she has six small schoolbags and that every time she passes a kindergarten, she says, "Look uncle, here's a kindergarten."

He wrote that she is envious of the children playing happily and added if she could be enrolled she would be able to have a normal childhood.

Yiyi made headlines last year when she was rescued more than 20 hours after the train collision. She suffered extensive internal injuries and her left leg was severely injured and later became gangrenous.

She had at least five operations in Wenzhou before being transferred to Shanghai's Xinhua Hospital, a major pediatric centre. She is currently there receiving rehabilitation treatment, while her grandparents take care of her in an apartment they have rented nearby.

Apparently the little girl has not asked about her parents and had "a bit of a shadow in her mind" but he refused to elaborate on what that meant.

Nevertheless we are outraged to hear that no kindergarten will accept this precious little girl.

She survived a deadly train crash, pulled through many surgeries and lost her parents and yet no institution wants to educate her?

If this happened in North America, schools with the means would be falling over each other to offer a place for this special child.

The reasoning they give about her leg is ridiculous -- her physical ailment is her own burden and she will deal with it. She is eager to learn and go to school like other children so why not let her?

Or is China still obsessed with perfection, much like the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where a pretty girl in a red dress named Lin Miaoke captured the world's attention singing Ode to the Motherland and later it was found out she was lip syncing to the voice of Yang Peiyi because she wasn't as "flawless" as Lin?

Give Yiyi a chance. It is not her fault she lost her parents -- and in fact since the government is to blame for the accident as officials were sacked -- it should take on the responsibility of looking after her future and that includes her education.

It is the least the government should do for her.

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