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Help for boy who wasn't taught to speak

By An Baijie,Sun Ruisheng (China Daily)

09:12, May 08, 2012

Tang Jiahao, in North China's Shanxi province, speaking and singing were seemingly impossible tasks.

Tang, from Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi, is being brought up by his grandparents, who can neither speak nor hear.

His mother is a migrant worker who has not been home for nearly two and a half years.

The family lives in a small apartment, measuring less than 40 square meters. The staircases in the old apartment building are covered in thick dust, and cockroaches are rampant in the closet.

In March 2009, Tang's mother, Li Yanping, who is able to speak and hear, gave birth to him in remote Southwest China's Chongqing municipality, where she worked at the time. She was 18 years old at the time and unmarried - the legal marriage age for women in China is 20.

Tang's father was a migrant worker from a village in the Wanzhou district of Chongqing. He was sentenced to jail when Tang was about six months old, said Wang Shengtang, the boy's 77-year-old great-grandfather.

Tang's mother brought him to her hometown of Taiyuan after her husband was sentenced. She left the boy with her parents when he was eight months old and went back to Chongqing.

The child has been living with his grandparents without any oral communication since his mother left.

"His mother used to communicate with me through text messages, but she has not sent me any messages for nearly half a year," his grandmother told China Daily, by writing on a piece of paper. "We don't know where she is or what kind of job she is doing."

His mother promised to come back home before the Spring Festival this year, but she did not keep the promise, said his grandmother.

His mother told China Daily by telephone that she is scheduled to come back to see her son in mid-May. She declined to comment on her disappearance.

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