Child Kidnappings in Anhui, Chinese Netizen Reactions

A man stands in front of a poster for a missing child in China.

A man stands in front of a poster for a missing child in China.

In February of 2011, news spread across Chinese websites and BBS forums about cases of child kidnapping in Anhui province. These cases were a bit more brutal than what’s often reported in the Chinese media — in some cases, kidnapped children had been splashed with acid or otherwise disfigured to make them look more sympathetic as beggars — but the kidnapping of children is in no way uncommon in China, nor is it limited to Anhui.

In fact, tens of thousands of children — estimates vary — are kidnapped in China each year. Some, like the children in February’s Anhui case, are sold into lives on the street. Many are lucky enough to be sold to “adoptive” families who raise them as regular children. Still others, mostly older children, are sold into marriage, prostitution, or slave labor.

First, some netizen comments from Tianya on the Anhui case described above:


Anhui is relatively poor, this is how things are.


People unite, crack down on evil criminals. Give them the death penalty~~~


What are the government departments doing? What is the enforcement department doing? Is it that they can’t see the posts like this? Why don’t they punish these animals who are crippling children in accordance with the law? Arrest them and let them see what it feels like to be crippled by someone else!


Fuck, is this still the “new society”? As soon as I saw this on Sina I immediately reposted it to Tianya to make more people aware of it.


From the great and mysterious Fuyang [in Anhui province, where this news originated], it seems like there’s never any good news.


How is it Fuyang again? The poisoned milk powder last time wasn’t enough? I live in Zhoukou, which is near Fuyang, and my little brother was born right when that poison milk powder scandal happened, it made us all very on edge about milk powder all the time. And now they’re selling kids again? What kind of social moral is this?


Come on, this is too ridiculous!


If there is no profit/gain to be had, then no government department will bother with it.


I posted this on Baidu’s Tieba [Baidu’s BBS discussion forums] and they kept deleting it as soon as I posted, I don’t know why…


Hope everyone can band together, and eliminate this wicked behavior.


I’m pissed!!


This [maiming and selling children] has already become a way to get rich, [the things in] people’s hearts, ah.


I’m also pissed!!


When they catch these bastards why aren’t they given death by a thousand cuts?


This kind of thing is very common where I’m from. The village cadres have all been [bribed] by those people [traffickers]. There are also a lot of purchased brides and things like that. Everyone has seen it so much that it is no longer strange. It’s not that we’re not sympathetic, it’s because you can’t afford to get involved. You really can’t do anything. Your home and your family are there [the implication here is that trying to do something could cause trouble for you and your family members].


[In response to commenter above:] Don’t blame it all on the government. As long as everyone restrained their kind-heartedness a bit, and no one gave money to these kind of people [child/handicapped beggars], this profession would forever be unprofitable, and there would be fewer crippled children. Everybody remember: never give money to crippled beggar children.

These kind of comments pop up every time a case like this garners major attention in the mainstream press, and while this case is around half a year old, you can rest assured that the next major case to break like this will elicit similar comments.

You can also rest assured there will be another case to break sooner or later. Independent experts believe that if anything, China’s problem with kidnapped children is getting worse.

Below, two more photos of Chinese parents with posters of their missing children:

A Chinese parent with a poster for his missing child.

A Chinese parent with a poster for his missing child.

I’m C. Custer of ChinaGeeks and we’re currently looking for support for our documentary, Living with Dead Hearts, about the problem of kidnapped children in China. We need donations to help continue production. Below is a short pitch for the film, along with the trailer (starts around 25 seconds into the video). If you want more details or would like to make a donation, you can do so here.


Written by C. Custer

C. Custer is a full-fledged China enthusiast whose interests include literature, history, language, and philosophy. He graduated from Brown in 2008 with a B.A. in East Asian Studies, and is currently teaching Chinese in New England and administering ChinaGeeks, a China translation, news, and analysis blog.


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