Camera call to end scandal of child beggars

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Shanghai Daily, January 28, 2011
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An online campaign to rescue children forced into begging on China's streets is attracting nationwide attention.

Pictures of child beggars are being posted on one of the country's leading microblog sites,, in the hope that relatives of children reported missing might recognize them and that the police will take action.

Just two days after its launch, the campaign has attracted more than 4,300 followers and 35 people have posted pictures of children spotted on the street.

The campaign has spread to other popular online platforms, including and

The man behind the campaign, Yu Jianrong, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, is urging people to take photographs of children in a bid to save those illegally sold by abductors or human traffickers. "You may change the whole life of an abducted child by taking a simple action," said Yu.

He called on anyone who came across paralyzed, disabled or wounded children begging for money with their "relatives" on the streets or in subway trains, to take out their cell phones or cameras and take their picture.

These pictures could be vital clues to help track down children who may have been missing from home for years and help the police to rescue them from their fate, he said.

One picture shows a girl lying on the ground in Hainan Province's Sanya City, half naked and wearing dirty clothing, and with wounds all over her body.

Other pictures of lost or missing children from the country's charity websites have been posted so that they can be compared with the children found on the streets.

Online comments describe the cruelty suffered by children abducted and then harmed by being burnt on their faces and bodies, children going blind or deaf because of mistreatment, even children having hands or legs chopped off.

The children, online posters say, are sold to beggars with prices from just a few hundred yuan to more than a thousand each, depending on their physical condition. Damaged children fetch higher prices as they attract more sympathy, and earn more money.

"Giving money to those beggars does not help the poor children as their greedy abusers only buy more of them, taking photos may have a better effect and it may also scare off the beggars," was one comment.

Chen Shiqu, director of the Ministry of Public Security's anti-abducting department, said he encouraged citizens to upload more pictures of begging children so they could crack down on the trade.

People can send photos to the campaign's email -

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