China: Around 200,000 Children Abducted and Sold Yearly, Only 0.1% Found Back

Children rescued from child abductors in 2006 sit in the Panlong Public Security Bureau in Kunming, Yunnan. Photo: AP

Children rescued from child abductors in 2006 sit in the Panlong Public Security Bureau in Kunming, Yunnan. Photo: AP

China National Radio’s said in its report titled “Around 200,000 children disappear every year, only 0.1% found back”, “According to various different statistics, in China the incomplete statistical figure of disappeared children every year is about 200,000. Those found and returned roughly account for only 0.1% of the figure. Behind the figure of disappeared children, there are stories of various different families. An art exhibition on missing children happened to open on June 1. The creator is Li Yueling.”

“Li Yueling said: We now only display the pictures and they will soon send TV sets here. There are 61 pictures along with the documentaries provided by 61 parents that will be played simultaneously.”

Those are all pictures of missing children and their parents’ documentaries to be displayed in order that viewers who know the whereabouts of any of the children will give clue for finding the children back.

The reporter interviewed quite a few parents and told their sad stories. Some of them have put an end to their successful careers to travel full time all over the country to look for their children.

SCMP says in its report titled “Police dismiss report that 200,000 children abducted in China yearly”, “Police denied the (www. report. ‘This figure is untrue. There is no basis for it,’ Chen Shiqu, the head of the Ministry of Public Security’s department in charge of handling children abductions, said in a microblog post. The office was set up in 2007.

“Last month, Chen’s department said it had solved 54,000 cases of trafficked children between April 2009 and the end of 2012.

“The trafficking industry was ‘booming’, Chen said in April. Traffickers buy children for about 30,000 yuan ($4,827) and sell them for 70,000 yuan to 90,000 yuan, he said.” says, “A visitor says: Things can be bought and sold but not human beings. A human being’s personality is insulted when being bought and sold. He/she is deprived of his/her dignity and feels being turned into a lifeless object. That hurts very much. The shame cannot be really understood if one has not personally experienced it.” says in its report, “Zhang Zhiwei, Director of the Human Trafficking International Cooperation and Protection Center of China University of Political Science and Law, has also always taken part for years as a volunteer in publicizing the campaign against abduction and for rescuing missing children. Let’s hear his view on what ordinary people can do.

“Zhang said: It is very important for the community and public to take part in the campaign. It so happened that once in Nanjing, a couple brought their grandson with them. The child was socl. cried and made trouble all the way. Twice, passers-by brought them to a police substation for enquiry as passers-by suspected that the child had been abducted. It was later proved to be a false alarm, but at least it proved people’s enhanced awareness of the problem. The simplest things ordinary people can do are forwarding microblogs, studying the issue on their own or spreading and publicizing information about the issue. Those are what they can do. If they have more time and energy, they may join some non-governmental organizations that fight against abduction of children. There have been quite a few volunteers who have single-handed helped dozens of families to find back their abducted children in a few years.

Many people know that buying an abducted child is a criminal act against the law, but in the administration of law, no criminal liability has been affixed to almost all such buyers. Even if such liability does have been affixed, they receive relatively slight administrative punishment, which means nothing in terms of punishment. The cost of committing the crime is very low. I think that we shall make severer the criminal punishment for the crime of abducting children as soon as possible.

Sources: China National Radio’s “Around 200,000 children disappear every year, only 0.1% found back” (excepts translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee) and SCMP “Police dismiss report that 200,000 children abducted in China yearly”

Note: It’s no use to solve the problem even if the crimes of abducting children are severely punished. Trafficking of abducted children is now a booming business controlled by large criminal gangs that have nationwide networks. I suspected that they have connections with and are protected by corrupt local police in quite a few areas as corruption is so rampant in China and the business is so profitable.

News about arrest of dozens members of such a gang is quite common in China.

The key problem is that there is a huge market in rural areas for abducted children. Rural people are willing to pay 70,000 to 90,000 yuan ($11,300 to $14,500). What does that amount mean? It means a family’s savings for several years.

One month ago, there was a story on CCTV that a peasant bought a boy six years old as he already had two daughters and was not allowed to have any more children due to strict birth control. The boy was abducted by two criminals who killed his mother in order to abduct him and his younger brother. The peasant did not care how the boy became available, nor the officials and the villagers in the peasant’s village. They just kept the information secret, but the boy had the memory of the murder and abduction.

When the boy had left the village and become a skilled migrant worker in a large city, he tried hard to find his father and brother for years. With the help of lots of enthusiastic urban volunteers, he finally found his father and brother after 19 years of the abduction.

Where did the boy get the leads? With the help of the volunteers, he forced his adopt father to tell him who sold him to his adopt father, and had the seller arrested for the crime. The seller confessed and told the police where he bought the boy and through further tracking they finally found the murderers and dug up the bones of the boy’s mother in the courtyard of one of the murderers in a small city far away from the boy’s adopt father’s village. DNA test proved the bones were the boy’s mother’s.

Through similar tracking, the boy was finally reunited with his younger brother.

The most difficult was to find his father. The boy remembered the appearance of the house and the village he lived in. He remembered his mother, he and his brother walked a long way to the city to do some shopping and that his mother was murdered and he and his brother were abducted there.

He searched in the villages around the city and did not recognize his village when he went there as the villagers have become rich and pulled down their old houses to replace them with new ones.

Quite a few volunteers from various cities visited all the villages around the city to enquire whether there was a man who lost his wife and two sons 19 years ago and were thus able to find the boy’s village as some villagers there still remembered that event.

My advice: If you and your young children look like Chinese. Keep your children closely by your side when you are in China.

In the above-mentioned exhibition, the parents who have lost their children, told the reporter that some vans stopped by the side of their children and someone got off and grabbed the children into the vans and immediately drove away. The parents just did not have time to respond. As the vans had fake license plates, they were unable to track the vans.

If you are a young woman, be careful when you are alone in China. There is a true story that a woman was abducted when she was 23 and sold for 30,000 yuan ($4,827) to a peasant. The peasant forced her to be his wife and give birth to two children. She was maltreated for 5 years until she was rescued by the police mid May, 2013.

I will give the full story tomorrow.

Chinese Officials Discourage Popular Campaign against Child Abduction

A government sparing no effort to round up human rights activists but lacks enthusiasm in saving kidnapped children sold as beggars will certainly be discarded by people when people take actions on their own. Selfish officials, it is time for you to reform!


SCMP says in its report titled “Anti-abduction effort faulted”: “The Ministry of Public Security has poured cold water on a popular online campaign to save abducted children.


“Academics and celebrities launched the campaign at the beginning of last year. They called on people to take photographs of child beggars they suspect may have been kidnapped, post them online and send them to as many people as possible.


“Those behind the campaign say it will provide clues to parents who have had their children kidnapped and increase the chances of children being rescued.


“However, the ministry’s social security administration department said on its microblog on Tuesday that virtually none of the photos of children taken by passers-by and posted online are of kidnapped children.


“It was responding to an incident in Beijing this month in which someone put a picture of a girl and a woman on the internet and said the girl may have been kidnapped because she spoke a different dialect to the woman. The poster said he had reported the case to the police and was seeking help from other internet users for the girl.


“The ministry said its investigation had found that the woman was the girl’s aunt.


“‘A storm of love from the public is touching. But this movement’s organisers should be wary,’ the ministry said. ‘They can’t let people’s love be taken advantage of or let the innocent be scarred mentally.


“‘Society needs love, but also respect.’”


True society needs love, but is there love from the government? No. If the government wants to rescue children from the misery of begging in the street, it shall not allow adults to use their children in their begging not even their parents let alone their aunts.


If the child beggars are old enough for schooling, the government shall provide shelter, food and education for them. If not, they still shall be provided with shelter and food and be taken care of in order to prevent them from receiving pre-school begging education. The government has the obligations to do something to save the children instead of pouring cold water on the campaigners.


SCMP says, “Professor Yu Jianrong, a rural development expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Business News television last year that he launched the campaign by posting a letter from a mother seeking help to find her lost child on his microblog and unexpectedly received a flood of clues from his followers. ‘I came to realise the enormous power of internet users,’ he said. ‘Therefore, I launched this activity to fight against child traffickers.’


“In just a few days, 400,000 internet users said they supported the campaign and thousands of pictures were uploaded, so many, in fact, that Yu had to get volunteers to process posts and liaise with police and the media.


“However, legal experts criticised the movement for infringeing on the rights of children and accompanying adults by posting the photos in a public forum.


“Yu said campaign organisers were aware of the issue and that once children were rescued, their photos would be removed from the internet. ‘At the moment, the best way [to help such children] is that whenever people encounter a begging child, take pictures and upload them online,’ he said.


“Yu could not be reached for comment yesterday, but on his microblog he said the campaign was about raising awareness of begging rather than kidnapping. On the mainland, many child beggars have been kidnapped or rented out by their families. Some are crippled to attract more sympathy.


“Hunan lawyer Gan Yuanchun, one of the campaign’s initiators, said he did not agree with the ministry.


“‘Among the children whose pictures were taken, some are absolutely kidnapped,’ he said. ‘Our campaign has played a role in pushing the security authorities to establish a nationwide children-searching platform last year and pushing the central government to issue a circular requiring local governments to strengthen the crackdown against begging by children.’


“Professor Yu Hai, a sociologist from Fudan University, said the ministry’s comment showed its anger at having been shown up by the campaign.


“‘It’s because the campaign revealed that the security authorities haven’t done their job well,’ he said. ‘The authorities ought to join hands with the campaign but, instead, are unco-operative.’”