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Opinion / Opinion Line

Poor shoplifter reveals loopholes in social welfare

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-03 08:51

Police officers in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province, reportedly caught a woman who stole a chicken leg and a small bag of rice from a local supermarket on Tuesday. They found out that the woman wanted to meet her sick child's wish for a chicken leg, but could not afford to buy one. The police gave her some money and asked others to donate, but only better social welfare can really help poor people like her, comments China Youth Daily:

Many people said they were astonished, because they could not imagine this happening today. Yet the social gap is so wide that many children are so well-fed they are overweight, while other children cannot even get enough food.

In this case, the mother just wanted to fulfill her daughter's wish because the child was ill. It reveals the huge loopholes in the social welfare system, which fails to protect the most vulnerable in society.

The story is so sad that even the policeman who caught the woman gave her money and called for donations to help her. We applaud that, but donations are not the answer to the problem. You cannot always expect donations to help the poorest members of society.

It is the duty of local governments to ensure residents meet the minimum living standards. In this case, the mother is a single parent who is raising two children with kidney diseases; where is the government support and where is the social welfare?

It is time for local governments to meet their responsibilities. Moreover, the central government needs to accelerate building a national child welfare system so that poor children won't be left behind by society.

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