Now that China is ‘allowing’ families to have a second child, Debbie tells the sad story of those unrecognised 2nd children that already exist.
You are given a name, after you are born. It’s better than being called Third Sister. You have a name, but no number, no 身份怎 shenfenzhen, Household Registration, an Identity Card.
You have a name and you grow up happy, playing with your older sister, even without a number, without a registration card. You don’t know about those things, you are three, and your sister goes to school. She is five.
Once you are five, you want to go to school too, but you can’t. You want to play with other children in your village, but they don’t want to play with you, their parents shoo them away from you, as if you have the plague.
Your parents don’t take you out, like they do with Older Sister. When visitors come you are hidden, you mustn’t speak. No-one must know. You don’t exist, outside your immediate family.
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