From December 14th to 15th, Huijiawang (Reunion Network) organized the first Chinese Citizens’ Anti-Trafficking Discussion and Conference. Over twenty representatives of parental organizations in search of kidnapped children came to Henan from the Henan, Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi, Hubei, Zhejiang, Guizhou, Guangdong provinces. This conference was held before WRIC’s North China child rescue tour. The agenda of the conference consisted of three topics. The first was a discussion on the legal issues regarding citizens’ activities in looking for trafficked children. The second was the exchange of information of search and reunion activities. The third dealt with future steps that organizations should take to find kidnapped children.
Photo: Front row from left: Jiang Tianyong, Tian Li, Su,Changlan, Yao Cheng ,Including some of the missing children parents’s representatives.
In the discussion of legal issues, representatives expressed many concerns over the legality of civilian efforts to search for lost children, the function of government and the rights and obligations of child-finding organizations. Mr. Jiang Tianyong, an attorney from the Beijing Gaobo Longhua Legal office, gave advice on each topic of discussion. On the role of government, Mr. Jiang opined that the kidnapping of children was at least partially the government’s responsibility due to the failings of public safety. The government should take that responsibility seriously instead of treating petitioning parents as socially undesirable destabilizing elements. The parents did not have political aspirations. Their aim was limited to urging the government to help find their missing children. The government should be more tolerant, to redirect the resources spent on monitoring the parental activists trying to rescue trafficked children, to help and support these parents in their search instead. Representatives resolved that under the current political climate, in order to continue normal child-search activities, we should avoid extreme actions as much as possible. Future petitions would come in mostly written, rational form. It was the decision of the conference to express in writing the difficulties the parents searching for their children faced in China, hopefully soliciting more support and assistance from the government, and resulting in the speedier return of more missing children.
During the conference, representatives from various locales exchanged information. They introduced their experiences in searching for their children and the lessons learnt in turn. The conference decided to strengthen future communications, aiming for a more effective and efficient exchange of information and resources.
Conference attendees gave high praise for WRIC’s efforts. They also gave many valuable suggestions. Some of the common ground reached during the conference were: to concentrate on the Fujian and Guangdong provinces, and the border regions of Henan, Hebei and Shandong provinces; to concentrate more on helping kidnapped children who are looking for their families; to produce more media that will educate children, in order to assist parents who cannot independently search for their trafficked offspring.