Sunday, September 30, 2007

China’s Stolen Children: Chinese Children Treated As Goods

[This posting links to video footage. Rather than skip my backbreaking post altogether, you could go directly to the video by clicking here.]

’s One Child Policy is truly evil and unimaginable in consequences. The unseen horror of millions of abortions, the majority sex-selective, which directly result from the policy is by far the greatest evil. But there are countless untold evil spin-offs, such as the kidnapping and trafficking of over 70,000 Chinese children annually.

The Taipei Times of Taiwan today released a story of this horrendous trade in human beings which treats children as mere goods. It’s a heartbreaking tragedy which further devastates China’s society. Entitled Where's our child? the headline reads

In China, 190 children are stolen every day to full the demand for sons. Brokenhearted parents trying to find their loved ones face retaliation from traffickers and government intransigence.

The article goes on

If 190 people were dying every day from the same illness, you'd call it an epidemic. And that's exactly what it is, except nobody really wants to talk about it. Especially the Chinese government.

The government doesn't want to talk about it because it's a short step from fully acknowledging the kidnappings to having to address why they're happening. Which means entering dangerous territory - a root cause of such large numbers of children being snatched is the fact that having a son in China is a necessity. He carries the family name, he is the child who will provide for his parents as they age.

The One Child Policy has resulted in prohibitive family-planning laws in China: prospective parents must have a birth permit before conceiving and urban families must pay a fine for flouting the one-child rule. If you haven't had an abortion to get rid of your female child (although it is now illegal), how can you be sure to get a son? Sometimes the only choice seems to be to buy a stolen child, gender already determined.

The article tries to paint a picture of the corruption in Chinese society which fuels this kind of tragic injustice.

If you were caught buying a child in the UK, you would be charged with child trafficking. Yet in China - as incongruous as it may seem - while it is illegal to abandon, steal or sell a child, it is not necessarily illegal to buy one. CCTV, a government-sponsored news outlet, recently reported that "Under the current law for families that adopt trafficked children, if they have not abused the children, and have not obstructed the rescue operations, the law enforcement can choose not to press charges, not to pursue further. Many parents of missing children find that unacceptable."

Parents of stolen children are immediately on the back foot; the law is essentially non-punitive, so child traffickers can justify their actions - they are simply supplying a demand that is not, in itself, a crime. Except, of course, it is. People buying a child have no guarantee that the child was willingly given up by his parents. And when the motivator for providing that child is money, reassurances mean nothing. A boy can fetch around US$900 which is a lot of money for one "job," when you consider that a skilled production worker in China earns US$1,700 a year.

The Taipei Times story makes reference to a new documentary filmed on the subject. The documentary was filmed by True Vision and from the True Vision website, we get more information on this very controversial film.

True Vision's latest film, China's Stolen Children is as the centre of a growing controversy over China's attempts to ban it. According to the Sunday Times the Chinese Embassy in London is seeking an injunction to prevent the film being shown, the Embassy has also complained to Ofcom and written to the Channel Four Board.

The film follows the parents of 5 year old Chen Jie as they desperately search for their kidnapped son, one of up to 70,000 children kidnapped and sold in China every year as a result of the One Child Policy. It includes secretly shot footage of a trafficker buying a one year old boy in a park, and negotiating the sale of the child to a couple in a hotel room.

View the video of this awful tragedy here.

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