A Migrant Mother’s Poem: “My Child, I Am Sorry”
As the school year begins in China, the children of migrant workers face a harsh reality: without an urban household registration (hukou), they will not be able to go to school. Illegal schools for migrant children have even been demolished in recent years. The central government recently announced that it will unify the hukou system, but this “will not represent progress if the way public services are doled out is not changed,” reports Caixin.
This spring, Weibo user 彭远文 shared a poem, said to be written by a mother living in Beijing without the right hukou, at the end of the spring semester:
I am sorry
Looking at your inquisitive eyes
I am disheartened and ashamed
Your heart is so pure
How do I begin to tell you?
Your smile speaks of kindness
How do I dare tell you
Tell you that this city won’t let you to go to school
What kind of scene is this?
What should I do?
I have been choking on my words for days
How do I explain to you,
Explain that this country is not ours
Or rather, that we are not of this country
You may not yet fully understand the heaviness of hardship
But I know
The seeds of discrimination have already been planted in your subconscious
The whole world seems to know China’s power
Yet an ordinary mother is powerless to send her innocent child to school
How absurd this is
Anxiety and restlessness
Grief and pain
Have become the labels of motherhood
After sleepless nights
After thinking of every possibility
I still can’t find a way for you to study by your mother’s side
I am sorry
Via CDT Chinese. Translation by Cindy.