China's Grieving Families Stand Up to Government

Officials unusually tolerant of dissenting voices
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 28, 2009 11:20 AM CDT
Li Xiaoyan near her mother Li Aiqing at their home in Liti village, near Runan, central China's Henan province, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008.    (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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(Newser) – A new political force appears to be emerging in China—grieving parents. The government, usually quick to crack down on dissent, is giving greater leeway to families hit by recent crises such as the tainted-milk scandal and the Sichuan earthquake, the Washington Post reports. Parents have banded together to demand reparations, and initial government attempts to intimidate them were met with public derision.

Government officials are now showing more deference in public and private, the Post notes, and they're not using the common tactic of jailing leaders on unrelated charges. Thanks in part to one group, the government even created a compensation plan for the families of tainted-milk victims.There's no guarantee the government's attitude will last, but the parents seem to have a special hold. "We have lost our child, and there's nothing left we'd be afraid of now," said one mother.