Heartbreaking pictures of the Chinese toddlers tied up all day because their parents can't afford child care
By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 2:01 PM on 22nd April 2010
Bewildered and tethered to a window these Chinese children reflect the desperate plight faced by migrant workers in the world's most populous country.
Unable to afford even the most rudimentary child care, the parents have to bring their youngsters to work with them.
These images were taken in a factory in the city of Jiaxing in the south east of the country where the parents toil for ten hours a day. There are an estimated 110million migrant workers in China aged between 16 and 40 years old.
The parents of these youngsters work in the factory while their children are tied to a workshop window to keep them safe
The youngsters stretch the rubber cords and meet where they can play together. The cords are tied to the iron bars above them
Tethered but safe: A child sits on a mat of dried water reeds patiently waiting for his father to complete his day's work
But there is no creche where the children can be dropped off.
Which means the youngsters come on to the shop floor, where anxious parents use lengths of rubber to tie the children to iron bars on the windows.
And there they are left - safe from traffickers or thieves, but with absolutely nothing to do other than watch mother or father work and shuffle as far as the rubber rope allows them.
The pictures, taken in Zhejiang province, recalled the heart-breaking plight of Jingdan, a two-year-old boy chained to a lamp post in Beijing in February.
His father Chen Chuanliu works as an unlicensed rickshaw cyclist, taking fares all over the city, while the boy's disabled mother collects rubbish at the roadside. Like the children in the factory he was tethered to prevent him from wandering off.
This youngster contents himself playing with scraps on the floor as a worker look on
A tearful youngster waits for his parents. Migrant workers are unable to afford proper child care so they take their youngsters to work with them
Concerned passers-by spotted Jingdan outside a shopping mall who then reported his father to the authorities, who ordered him to remove the chain.
A local nursery boss saw the story and offered to give the boy three years of free child care.
'The nursery fees will be paid by me, which amounts to about 40,000 yuan (£3,725),' said the president of the Aibei Kindergarten, a man known as Mr Pi.
What little money the boy's father earns goes on rent, food and health care, which is expensive despite the hospitals being state-owned in Communist China.
There’s also the country’s obsession with legal paperwork, which makes nursery care for the children of migrant workers a huge problem in China.
'The biggest problem for Jingdan now is that he does not have a Beijing hukou, the permanent Beijing residence document,' explained Mr Pi.
'According to China's laws, the boy and his family have no rights to free health or education and other social security benefits because they are from out of town.'
Chained: Two-year-old Chen Chuanliu was padlocked to a tree while his rickshaw driver father touts for customers in Beijing. After the picture was published a nursery boss offered the boy free childcare