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China wants compensation for parents who lost their only child in New Zealand quake

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand >> A Chinese official said Monday that New Zealand should consider special compensation to parents of Chinese students killed in an earthquake last month because their loss was magnified under the country’s one-child policy.

Seven students from China have been identified among the 166 confirmed deaths in the quake that devastated Christchurch city on Feb. 22, and as many as 20 others are still missing.

Chinese Embassy official Cheng Lei said Monday that Chinese quake victims had lost not just their only child, but also a future breadwinner.

He said New Zealand should consider providing additional financial assistance to those families.

“You can expect how lonely, how desperate they are … not only from losing loved ones, but losing almost entirely the major source of economic assistance after retirement,” Cheng told Radio New Zealand.

Such compensation would be consolation for the families of the victims “but also a demonstration of the importance the New Zealand government attaches to the Chinese international” students, he said.

New Zealand tertiary education minister Steven Joyce said insurance and other payments were being made to survivors and relatives of victims of the quake, but that it would be difficult under New Zealand law to provide special compensation to one group of victims.

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