Many Chinese netizens have proposed adopting children who lost parents in Monday's massive earthquake.
"I have been in tears in recent days. I pray for people in quake zones and hope to adopt a child. My wife and I would love him or her like my own child," a netizen Lizi wrote at the www.Tianyaclub.com online forum.
Lizi said he was a company employee in the southern city of Guangzhou. His wife and he were able to provide the adopted child with education and daily expenses.
Within minutes, about one thousands netizens hailed Lizi's wish and some of them also said they were willing to adopt earthquake orphans.
Angela, another netizen in Changsa in central China, submitted the adoption application to civil affairs authorities in Sichuan Province, along with her were more than 300 other netizens from across the country.
"When I saw Premier Wen Jiabao console the orphans, I felt heartbroken. I want to do something for them, either through donation or psychologically," said a netizen nicknamed Paozi.
Such topics were widely seen in China's major online forums. Many people listed their incomes, residences, professions and contacts, hoping to do something for the poor children.
Monday's earthquake was the worst one to strike China since the Tangshan earthquake in northern Hebei Province in 1976, which claimed 242,000 lives.
The tremors were also felt in most parts of the country.
In regions neighboring Sichuan, 280 were killed in Gansu Province, 106 in Shaanxi Province, 14 in Chongqing Municipality, two in Henan Province, one in Yunnan Province and one in Hubei Province.
There is no way of knowing at present how many children have lost their parents.
President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao were currently in Sichuan to coordinate rescue and relief operations.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Friday that qualified people can adopt quake orphans in conformity with the law, once order has been restored in China's quake-hit regions.
The ministry said many domestic and international organizations and individuals had shown concern over those orphaned during the quake, and some had even proposed to adopt orphans.
With order gradually being restored in the quake-stricken regions, the government will arrange adoptions, sources said.
In the meantime, local governments will take responsibility for looking after these orphans.
With the number of homeless children increasing, the ministry told its local bureaux to look after these children and try to locate their parents or other relatives.
The ministry also asked the local bureaux to accommodate these children properly and help them recover from the impact of the quake.
(Xinhua News Agency May 17, 2008)