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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

thoughts on: Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother

Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of the lost daughters of ChinaMessage from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of the lost daughters of China by Xinran

Heartwrenching and invaluable.  Xinran tells peoples stories for them, stories that are hard to hear, but much harder to bear.  The toll on the mothers who have deprived themselves of their daughters is terrible. 

Each story is different.  Xinran shares the stories of women who have abandoned their daughters; who have had daughters kidnapped; who have carefully placed them for adoption, wanting for them a better life; who have killed them.

Xinran lists several reasons why this is all so commonplace:  religious beliefs that demand a (firstborn is best) male heir; land distribution policies that make a family's survival without a son difficult; and the one child policy.  All that I knew, but, did I?  I did not know how high the suicide rate is among women in China.  I guess I did not fully believe that what has been a cultural norm for a thousand years could still hurt so much.  Did I think they were that different from me?  Or could I just not imagine their lives?  Now, I can, and it breaks my heart.

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