Union Square event 2013: WRIC Announced the Publication of “Shao’s Orphan”

Women’s Rights in China’s volunteer:  Zhang Yujun       Translator by  Cindy Lin

On July 27, 2013, Women’s Rights in China exhibited a massive Missing Children in China exhibition for display in New York City’s Union Square Park.  The event exhibited hundreds of photos of missing Chinese children. These photos were arranged to appeal to the American public’s growing concern about the child trafficking problem in the People’s Republic of China. The hope is that the U.S. government will stress this matter more in the US-China human rights dialogue. In the PRC, about 20 million children are trafficked annually, but China’s government does not highlight any specific number children who are missing due to child-trafficking. The US 2013 Annual “Trafficking in Persons Report ” documents that trafficking in China is very serious and placed China on Tier 3 where they now faces possible sanctions.

During the July 27 event, WRIC announced that they are working on the English translation and publication of the book “Shao’s Orphans” written by the prominent investigative reporter Pang Jiao Ming (pseudonym: Shangguan Jiao Ming). Shangguan Jiao Ming continues to brave death threats because the contents of his book include information about officials from Hunan Zhaoyang Shi Jisheng. The book documents “illegal births” as the PRC’s reason for forcibly taking away many children from low-incomes families. The act of taking these children away is used as an means of dispensing with the “fines” that go along with these “illegal birth.” If the parents are not issued a government permit to give birth to a child, the child is “illegal” and the parents are required to pay a fine.  This book documents many accounts of “illegal birth” fines that are unable to be paid, and result in children being, in effect, sold to PRC government orphanages. These government orphanages can and often to turn around and demand more than $30,000 dollars per child from adoption organizations in the US and other Western countries. Foreigners’ expensive adoptions indirectly stimulate China’s human trafficking market.

China’s missing children epidemic is the resulted of the PRC’s One-Child Policy; this wave of missing children is like a malignant tumor.  The “domestic exports” profits from the chain of families that were targeted due to the egregious policy. This causes everything to be out of control.  This interdependent, vicious cycle, continues to make many parents in China very angry at the government, especially as the number of missing children continues to grow.

Jing Zhang stated, “The government orphanage in Hunan, Shaoyang has dozens of children who are brought there because their parents were unable to afford the “illegal birth” fines.  We recently learned that about 15 of these children have been brought to the United States through adoption services, even though each child has a Daddy and a Mommy back in China.”

“Shao’s Orphan” author investigated the “illegal birth fine,” the victims’ families, as well as government orphanages. These orphanages have even been known to erase the child’s identity information, thus making the whole process more expensive for foreigners to adopt children. The Chinese-language version “Shao’s Orphans” has not been published in Mainland China. WRIC hopes to publish an English version of it to increase international concern, especially among American adoptive families. WRIC is raising funds to publish the English version of this important book.

The photos displayed at the July 27th event were collected from all over China by WRIC’s volunteers in China. Many of the volunteers are also parents of missing children. They continue to form self-help groups with the sole purpose of finding their missing children. Despite their efforts, they have not received any relevant help from the government; on the contrary, their activities are often seen as threats to the government and their members are often arrested by local PRC government officials.

One parent who had adopted three children attended the Union Square’s photo exhibition to discuss her concerns about the status of China’s missing children. That parent said she adopted three children, two girls from a government orphanage in Hunan Hengyang, China about 16 years ago, and one boy from Vietnam. She cautiously asked: “What would the biological parents do if they found their child to be in the United States or some other country?” WRIC Founder Jing Zhang responded:  “The Hengyang orphanage have been revealed many times of children scandal. These scandals involved selling children. It is the parent’s greatest hope that their child did not enter the world of child trafficking. But do not worry, we asked a lot of missing children’s parents these questions, their answer is always the same: We only want to know that the child is still alive and safe. If they know this much, they can stop looking. If the child is in the United States or any Western countries, the parents will not go to claim them and take them back to China. The parents will feel blessed for their child, and they can finally have some peace of mind.

Jing Zhang discussed how in early July, she was contacted by four families from China who have missing 13-year-old girls. They complained that the PRC police have enough surveillance for political dissidents but not enough resources to protect their families and find their missing children. 

“The PRC has not put an end to the unconscionable practice of men spending 50,000 Yuan to “buy” virgin girls who have been kidnapped from their families,” stated WRIC’s Jing Zhang. “This practice continues to escalate along with the growing number of underage girls who are taken from their families early in life.  To rule out the government’s role in this as a coincidence would be too far-fetched. We all know that China’s government possesses sufficient resources to prevent such crimes.  The PRC’s Public Security Bureau carefully follows bloggers, labor leaders, religious believers, and democracy seekers – but the same government does not make a serious attempt to prevent these crimes against young children. On the surface, China’s government purports to promote anti-trafficking effort by making some funding available, but with little success.”

WRIC’s July 27th event at New York’s Union Square Park was a great success, lasting over 6 hours. WRIC volunteers spent the day under New York’s summer sun handing out leaflets to promote advocacy for the missing children while answering many questions the public had about these issues. Volunteer Zhang Yujun’s 5-year-old child joined the adults to help form greater awareness. She was noted as the youngest and most driven WRIC volunteer. She distributed leaflets faster than the adults.

WRIC’s banner of about 500 pictures of missing children in China in Union Square, NY
Some of WRIC’s volunteers.
Mother and daughter volunteers
Founder, Jing Zhang during an interview with reporter.
An volunteer explaining our cause to a passerby

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