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Baby for couple who lost daughter in Sichuan quake

HOPE has been reborn for a southwest China couple who lost their only daughter in the May 12 earthquake.

On Saturday, Yang Xia and her husband, Xian Ziwen, became the first bereaved parents in the quake zone to have a second child, nine months after the death of 19-year-old Xian Juan.

"It's all like a dream for me," said Yang, who is still coming to terms with the loss of her first daughter.

The healthy 3.6-kilogram baby is considered a double blessing as Yang, at 40, was considered to be "high risk" in pregnancy.

Xian Juan, a 12th grader, was the only quake victim at Shucheng Middle School, in Chongzhou City, in west Sichuan Province.

The family was one of the more than 8,000 Sichuan families who lost their only child in the earthquake, which left more than 80,000 dead.

Yang was told by a teacher on the afternoon of May 12 that her daughter was in hospital. Yang found her lying silently on a hospital bed, covered by a piece of cloth.

If she had lived, she might have been studying anthropology, a subject her farmer parents had never heard of, at university.

Yang Xia spent a month in grief.

"We quarreled every day over almost everything," recalled Xian Ziwen, 46. "I understand that she needed to vent her emotions."

Sichuan legislators in July exempted families who lost their children in the earthquake from the country's one-child laws.

The rule, adopted by the standing committee of the provincial legislature, allowed a family who lost an only child, or in which the child was disabled, or a family with two children who were both disabled in the disaster, to have another child.

Since the quake, about 5,000 Sichuan couples have received free fertility treatment, Wang Zaiyin, director of the provincial Population and Family Planning Commission, said yesterday.

In Deyang City, 74 percent of parents of child-bearing age who lost their children considered having another child.

Yang became pregnant in July, said Xian Ziwen, a flour mill worker in Baima Village, Jinjiang County. "My only wish is that the child will avoid misery and suffering."


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