Saturday, August 1, 2009

China Listened: A Monumental Day

Children in the United States cannot be denied an education based on disease. The laws are very clear that education is a basic right of all Americans. Until today, that hasn't been the case in China. Two months ago, a letter signed by over 6,000 Chinese citizens, was sent to Premier Wen Jiabao, appealing for the right to education for all carriers of the Hepatitis B virus--an estimated 100 million people. Translated excerpts of the document made its way to the Internet.

From Yunnan: I have endured enough to be a Hepatitis B patient, but my child is too young to understand why he can not go to kindergarten like other children. Every time he looks at me with inquiry, my heart breaks. When will it come that my child can get an equal opportunity?

From Hubei: It is not our fault being infected by the virus and we do not desire too much sympathy and help. All we need is the right to be treated equally and the fair competition. We are impeded in schooling and refused by employers in so long a time. The determination of standing on our own legs therefore becomes faint in reality. In many times I almost cannot help yelling out the voice in my heart: how could we survive in such a society?

From Guangxi: I was just admitted by Jilin University in 2008 while I was diagnosed Hepatitis B in the entrance physical examination and was thus forced to quit schooling. What I have been working so hard for, turns to be meaningless. The sunshine in my life dims. I have no idea what I should do in future. I can not help wondering: when will this situation be changed?

From Guangdong: In current China. it is almost of no use for HBV positive youth to work hard. No matter how diligent, excellent, and noble they are. The tag of POSITIVE is attached to them forever.

I almost couldn't bear to read these--my daughter's fate had she stayed in China. And now today, I read this headline through grateful tears :

China's kindergartens to take normally functioning hepatitis B children

BEIJING, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese kindergartens and nurseries will shortly no longer be allowed to turn down children carrying hepatitis B who have normal liver function, says a draft government regulation. The draft, which is open to public feedback till Aug. 15, is expected to replace the current regulation, a simplified version that took effect in December 1994 which did not include such a requirement, a source with the Ministry of Health said Friday.....

In the coming weeks, as I take my Cholita shopping for school clothes and pencils, I'll think of mothers half a world away, with children just like Cholita, doing exactly the same thing. For me, it's a privilege which I've always taken for granted; for them, it's a long prayed-for right: an education for our children.


Lisa said...

Yes! Yes! Finally....that is good news. Monumental news! Thanks, Eileen! We are also in the process of registering Gracie right now for kindergarten.

Kelly said...

What a monumental step. Thanks for bringing this to light Eileen. Happy school shopping. I personally am looking for some shiny red shoes.

sierrasmom said...

I have tears in my eyes. We returned home in January with our 3 uear old Hep B daughter. I had heard about the petition but did not no the outcome until now. Thank you!!
Kathie in nN

Michelle said...

I had no idea that they couldn't get an education if they were Hep B!! Wow, that is great that they will finally be able to have a good education. Thanks for sharing.