Chinese parents split up for the kids

GUANGZHOU, China -- Parenting is a selfless -- and expensive -- commitment for mothers and fathers around the world. But the love that some parents in China show for their offspring appears lavish to the point of sacrificial.
This mother divorced her husband so they could send their son to a good school.
     "To tell you the truth, I did not want to split up with my husband, because we get along so well," said a 42-year-old divorcee in Yuexiu a downtown area of Guangzhou, Guandong Province.     Some go so far as to get divorces to circumvent restrictions and provide a better life for their children.
     The woman, who chose to remain anonymous, had been living happily with her husband and only child in a house they had bought in the suburbs of Guangzhou. However, six years ago, right before her son entered elementary school, her husband suggested to her that they should get a divorce.
     At first, the wife could not understand why he would make such suggestion. However, after realizing the intention of his proposal, she jumped at the idea and divorced her husband, who works in the general affairs division of a local insurance company. The reason? To send her son to a better school. 
     As in Japan, Chinese law requires all citizens to attend elementary and middle school for at least nine years, and in principle they attend the public school nearest to their home. However, the rule has been creating problems in the nation's educational system in the past several years.
     As people become better off, more and more parents try to place their children in the best school possible during the compulsory education period. Chinese society emphasizes academic achievement, and companies look carefully at academic results when hiring.
     Premium schools are usually in urban areas where the students are mostly children of parents with relatively steady jobs, such as office workers. That is why many parents are eager to have their children attend school in the city.
     However, whether a child can attend a city school hinges entirely on the location of his or her residence, not on the aptitude of the child. Parents who live in a district designated for a quality school can send their children to the school without fuss, while those outside the district cannot.
     It is, however, not easy to simply sell a house in the suburbs and move to a city.
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