Children On Leashes Tied To The Walls While Their Parents Work

Young Chinese children on leashes tied to the walls of a factory while their parents work.

Young Chinese children tied on a leash in Zhejiang while their parents work.

From XiCi:

Zhejiang Haining kiln workers have no choice but to tie their children by the windows when they go to work

2010 April 20, at a certain brick/tile factory in Dingqiao of Haining in Zhejiang province, many kiln workers’ sons and daughters have been tied to the workshop windows with rope by their parents. The reason the parents have done this is because they do not have time to look after their children yet are afraid of their children running around and getting into an accident. As it is understood, these children are tied to the windows for nearly 10 hours every day.

A child tied to a window with a rope at a brick factory in Zhejiang China.

A little boy sitting on the ground of a brick factory workship in Zhejiang China.

Two little Chinese children tied to windows in Zhejiang. Their parents tie them up so they do not run around and get into accidents.

A mother checks on her son while passing by outside the window the child is tied to.

A little Chinese boy cries, a rope tying him like a leash to a window.

Comments from XiCi:


In the face of life/reality, this is how tiny we are!!!


If the parents had means, they too wouldn’t be willing for their children to live like this…


[I] feel I was very lucky when I was small.


Just one government official’s BMW would be enough to build a kindergarten/child care.


This is the choice when there is no choice. What parent would want their child to be like this? Saddening…


Very upset, what can this kind of childhood bring to their lives?


What does this show us? Our government, what you are seeing is the life many people live. These jobs need people to do them, so why don’t [you, the government] give them some more/better welfare? Even though we are still very far from the welfare of those developed countries, at least we can spend some money on these migrant worker friends. I think everyone would be understanding, after all they are manual laborers. With regards to this society, I can only say this much. Just today I was donating to Yushu [Qinghai Earthquake]. I wonder if it can be given to those friends who are suffering hardships. China’s government officials have already lose the people’s hearts. I hope you guys can act according to your consciences.


Poor children, it will only be worse in the future! Being born in this country and in this time and in this place is such a tragedy!

It would have been better not to be born at all!


We’ve experienced this before when we were small, hehe, and now when we think about it, it wasn’t such a big deal. It is also a very deep memory.


Just seeing this makes me worried…
Children with money, children without money…


So sad, so before having a children one must consider carefully, what can you give the child?


Poor children. I am a father too. Thinking of one’s own children, seeing other people’s children, should lead to one working harder. Otherwise, one day, on the other end of the rope will be one’s own child…


Our children are too blessed. How can we change these children’s conditions? What can I do?


The gap between rich and poor is seriously getting larger and larger! I once saw a video talking about a woman carrying a child on her back shining the shoes of a child from a family with money. These poor babies. Early on, they have tasted the world’s hardships and griefs. I really hope they can be happy one day!


Can these [people] be considered parents? Usually only animals are tied up this way, so them doing this says what about how they see their children? If they don’t have the time to take care [of the children], then leave them at home [with their extended family] or don’t have children. This is just giving children bad childhoods. Put another way, if these workers were children, and their parents tied them there, what would they think when they grew up and understood? This is outrageous, are children not children [not human]? Are they your pets? Angry.


If you are a poor Chinese person like this, would you...

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What would you really do? If you were really a Chinese laborer or migrant worker or a poor Chinese person like this?

Children tied to windows with ropes while their parents work in the brick kiln workshop.

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Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

  • Rick in China

    Some of the photos are quite good – definitely a professional. Interesting contrast and somewhat ironic to think the cost of a high quality camera vs. the pittance the workers get and the result on their children, yet the children are the target of the camera, which promote the photographer.

    • Maoqiu

      I disagree. It’s good to see that there are journalists in China who have a code of ethics and feel responsible on reporting about the hardships found in today’s society, and they can use the internet as an outlet.
      Instead of taking a ball peen hammer to the nearest child daycare to lash out against society, this photographer with their high quality camera is opening eyes and minds to the difficulties that face people. Think of it as making that wall you build around yourself in your middle class home becoming a little more transparent and seeing how hard your neighbors’ life is.

  • lol

    nice criticism of contemporary chinese society.

    but definitely staged. Where are the grandparents of the children?

    • George

      If they’re migrant workers the grandparents will be in another part of China somewhere.

      • raab

        If they’re migrant workers, often they would leave kids in the home village with grandparents. Perhaps this wasn’t an option or the kids were born in the adopted area.

    • Fooch

      Staged or not, seems very probable…particularly when they decimate falun gong practioners. They are tyrannical government. And the fact that the USA is now supporting China is just as disgusting. Enjoy your freedom, what’s left of it, while you have it. It will soon be China here in the USA. Watch.

  • Nick

    Such a unfortunate situation, I can’t imagine what might happen if one of those ropes got caught around one of the infants’ necks

  • C&N

    a society in change. judged by the comments, over the long run compassion will filter through from growing middle wealth and numbers.
    let’s hope that it comes soon – that the bitter and sweet outcomes of industrialisation can be compressed in china to a few years rather than multiple decades that history suggests is the norm.

  • Those are the naughty kids. The good kids are out playing.

  • 练练英语

    In a place of southern China,villagers lock their kids in “tree cages” while they are farming in the field.Now,the smart villagers showcase the “tree cages” to visitors,and all visitors say the villagers are so clever to come up with that amazing idea.So why not use a cage?

  • Amazing photos. However, it saddens me that the parents are forced to resort to such ways.

  • for many reasons, most of us can’t even imagine tying a little child to a wall for 10 hrs a day. we think it’s inhumane, what parent would do this, the psychological issues etc. but i guess if you’re that poor there is just no other choice. puts a new perspective on everything.
    amazing pics!

  • C

    IMHO the poll question wasn’t too well directed. As is prominent in China, families, especially migrant families, need to have children who care for htem when they get older (whether it’s actually care for them at home or send money back etc).

    I don’t know a solution to this problem either, but I wouldn’t think there would be three or four children from one mother at the factory.

  • shanghai girl

    I feel for the desperate circumstances these parents are in to have to do this to their children… But ten hours a day in this condition, probably 6 or 7 days a week seems about certain to have a negative impact on the childrens health. Both physical and psychological would suffer in this condition for such long periods of time.
    Hopefully there is some family members or some home-run daycare that could prevent this from happening at least a few days a week…

  • Fransisco

    Its not so much the being tied part that is bad, its that they are alone, and constricted in a small space, for hours on end. I have seen children tied, and was happy to see them that way, because this was in restaurants, and there were so many customers walking around, that the child could have easily gone missing / got kidnapped and the mom wouldnt know. If the child was tied to her, they stayed together. However, doing this for hours on end is horrible and sad. Migrant workers should not have to resort to such conditions.

    • You really think it’s better for a kid to be tied up by a leash than to have mom and dad just pay better attention? And where do you live where kids are being abducted right and left in public places?

      • Fransisco

        Haven’t you seen poor children run around near bars and restaurants, even after midnight? don’t you ever wonder where their parents are? If not, you probably haven’t been to a chinese city. Of course it is best if the parents can take care of their children. Who doesn’t want that?

        But rather than allowing children to roam around in public places because there is nowhere else that their parents can afford to keep them, I would rather they stay at home, or at-least near their parents. Of course, thats still a worst case scenario. I just think they are too poor to have that option…why else would they do that?

        • box

          I do not think those poor children running around at night are what you think they are? What cities are we talking about?

          If it’s a major Chinese city, it’s not hard to guess where their ‘caretakers’ are.

          • aclcla


          • The Anti-Racist

            Just around the corner. Excuse me for answering in his place i felt obliged

  • bill rich

    China is now strong and the richest country in the world. You people should not show this kind of pictures to the world to humiliate China. Your betrayal to the motherland must be punished severely. Your country has raised you up. You were fed by the people of China, so just watch out.

    • I am not agree with you man…. a country is rich when the peoples of that country are happy and living in good conditions… money doesn’t make a country rich… if you think china is rich then why the peoples in china in rural areas are still living in poor conditions? why not goverment spend some of their money for the betterment of these peoples????????? why not???????

      And everybody have the right to raise their voice against wrong things….and no matter if peoples raise voice against corrupt system….

      You are living in good conditions that doesn’t mean everybody living in the same situations… go outside in rural areas or villages… see how they are living… and think what if you have to live in these conditions for just one week?????????? think again man… broad your mind and think wisely…..

  • Maria

    This is really sad and heartbreaking! I understand the situation the parents are in, but this could affect the children in social situations in the future. I’m glad I was born in the U.S. and taken care of by my grandmothers.

  • BKK

    How much was spent on the Olympics? The Expo? The National games? The space program?
    Seems like the CCP have their priorities all WRONG !

  • hii.. my name is Dharm and i am from India… really sad to see these photos… and really shameful for us who are already grown up that what life we are providing to our kids….

    Not just goverment not just parents but i personally feel that we all equally responsible for such a future we are giving to our generations. What i see that most of the peoples look on their personal benefit first… and very few who think on national level or global level for the betterment of whole society.

    Poors are getting more poor and rich peoples are growing more rich… how this difference came up?…. cause maximum of the peoples think of their own personal benefit. Honesty, Loyalty all has gone… only things rising these days are Corruption, cheating, selfishness, and climbing high by putting your legs on anyone neck….

    The time will change… and its we who have to change this time… we all are capable in our own ways to do something better for our future our kids…. and no matter chinese or indian or american… the truth is we all live on this earth and our kids are our future…let them provide a good life a good society….

    We all have to do the right things together………… beliving self and do it… not thinking that we will do when somebody will do first…

    I will do….

  • jeremy

    Considering the alternatives that the parents may have. This may be the safest and healthiest alternative. Different than leaving your kid in a crib while you work? not really. They obviously have no day care, can’t afford it if they could. They are able to see their kids during the day on breaks…possibly? And the kids are in a sweatshop working. It’s sad but considering the options, this actually may be the best option. They are doing the best they can.

    • jeremy

      sorry correction:
      And the kids are not in a sweatshop working

    • Well man i think you are providing options of ropes…. why don’t we think the causes of these problems and solve these problems besides thinking on options and alternatives????????

      What you do when you get ill????? you think of options or you go to the doctors to find the problem and take a right treatment to be healthy again?

      Think again.
      Dharm from India.

  • Yin

    To the guy above who suggested creating a daycare center – you really think people in rural China are willing to pay for daycare? We’re talking about penny-pinching farmers and migrant workers, here. They’re not going to spend money if they can help it.

    Realistically, one can hope that the hard work of the parents pay off and their children will receive better opportunities than they did. The government may step in with more welfare but frankly I doubt it – the “Communist” party isn’t what it used to be.

    • hii Yin… I am dharm from India… read ur comment… can you tell the person name who written “Daycare” as you mentioned in your comment?…
      :) as above your comment its me … and you have written “to the guy above…..” :)

      • Ah .. okay i found the guy… its below me… his comment appeared after i written you… ….Dharm

    • Peye

      The children are tethered to the wall by a visible rope and the parents are tethered to the machines by an invisible one.

  • Of Canada

    The children are only a few feet away from their working mothers. They will be getting plenty of attention. Seems that the children who are abandoned to their grandparents are more resentful to their parents than the ones who accompany their parents to their hard labor.

    I am inspired by these photos. will consider tying my child to the TV. She can have entertainment and I won’t need a babysitter or daycare!


  • I just hope that even if parents don’t have other choice, they realize that this situation is not normal.

    • Rick in China

      Normal is subjective. It is normal to them.

      It’s not normal to anyone reading this story on their computer.

  • shanghairocks

    This is a kick-ass technique… Chinese rock !!

  • Kai

    That’s a pretty devious poll. I see what you did there.

    • raab

      +1, since I can’t thumbs up.

      That poll is mad risky.

  • shengguo

    i can hear the sound of my heart broke when I see those pictures

  • Paul

    Did anyone notice that the kid with the red hood and the one in the blue-yellow jacket are always the same in every picture although the windows are different? Looks like the photographer just tied them up to different windows for different photos. You can see that on iron bars and the damaged walls.

  • you do realize, that I and more than a few others have not a had access to this site….

    anyways catching up on the SMACK,


    I saw this in India too,

    is there a Hindu (or the 1000+ other languages) that mean


    at least the kids wont get lost…


    • Hii… i am Dharm and i am from India… you mentioned here that you saw this in India too…. can you tell me where? Which Place????

      I also want to add here that not just china or india or thailand or philipines or any other asian or european countries …but poor peoples are everywhere in the whole world…. the thing we have to understand is that its not a particular country problem but it is a Global Problem… and we all have to do our best to do the best and better for peoples in need…

      Thank you


        born into brothels



        I love you!

        • Hii.. thanks for posting this video link… yes it is from india.. the state name is West Bengal and i like to mention here that even Brothel is in Delhi too… and its really shameful that such things are going on everywhere… why cause peoples want it and government doesn’t want to stop it… and more is that the girls and other peoples working in these brothels are taking it as a way of earning….

          Some of the girls forced to become sex workers and some do for money and pleasure…. and it is really disgusting that government has legallized few of brothels…. what a shame…

          There are so many problems i see in India… and heartly want to remove these problems.
          Child Labor

          There are so many things i feel need to change in our system… need to change the law which is many years old….


          • do you know what

            牛B means,

            you are that!

            did you ever hear about

            Bhagat Singh ??

            now that guy was …

            thats right,


            let us talk again

            in RED ROME!

            wumaodang forever

    • What do you mean with this????

      ” do you know what

      牛B means,

      you are that!

      did you ever hear about

      Bhagat Singh ??

      now that guy was …

      thats right,


      let us talk again

      in RED ROME!

      wumaodang forever”

  • NaoNao

    I had a friend in Canada that was treated like this until he was 6 or 7 years old. His parents had little money, lived in a trailer park, and had no time to look after him, so they tied him to a 10 foot long leash, and attached the leash to a cable hung between two trees. This way he could move around the yard and play.

  • keius

    It’s just life in China. The class divide in China is even worse than the one in the states. It’s amazing that China can still conceive of calling itself communist.

    Anyway, look at the alternatives. I was born in a poor village myself. I recall running around and getting myself in tons of trouble as early as age 2. Fell from trees multiple times. I have 2 bumps on my forehead that look like little devils horns. My mom gave me a knife to play with at age 2. Half a month later, i cut off part of my right index finger……from the joint. I prob woulda been better off tied to a leash LOL

  • fireworks

    This country needs affordable childcare.

    The shanzhai should think of something as they normally are quite innovative and creative in their endeavours. Shanzhai should crate a cubby house in a fenced off area and keep watch of all the worker’s children.

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  • soo cute.

    My wife was tied to a leash at her grandma’s workplace when she was two or three years old. Not in China & not because they were poor, just to prevent her from falling into the stove or something similar (grandma worked in a kindergarden kitchen).

    She still loves her grandma very much, probably because she liked being with grandma better than being in childcare.

  • Yellow River

    China has 32 million more boys under the age of 20 than girls. The gap is widening with every generation born. A large popluation of dudes without families; what are they gonna do with their time? China’s government will be having a lot of fun in about thirty years, trying to keep all these men at ease -and from not organizing for a….

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  • Animalparent

    please stop having children if you cannot afford to give even the basic things they need TT

  • elenore

    Maybe these some of these people had these children before their jobs and maybe their are reasons for why they are working their to begin with.Maybe these children are why they are working.Maybe these people should get paid better.And maybe your government should have a Head start Program like we do in the U.S.Judge not least ye be judged.Maybe these women have hard knock reasons for being there at those places of work.maybe their families are not able to watch their kids.Maybe their husbands have lost their homes.

  • elenore

    Oh one more thing during WW2 when mothers were manufacturing for the war,They took turns watching each others children.Each sacrificing one day of work to watch kids.It worked for my Grandmothers.They had to work for the war effort and they needed the pay and they needed their children watched.And it doesn’t cost anything.You are all taking turns.

  • paper clip

    Read the kid’s black jacket, it looks like ‘NSPCC’

  • Mimi

    I can understand their mentality, if i where them i would probably do the same, but i would make sure the child would have a longer rope to wander some more and have something to entertain themselves with, maybe a paper and pencil to draw or an old book.
    Too bad the companies don’t offer a day care…darn them for not caring for anything besides profit, this is wrong!

  • Blitz

    Oh, the horror!…
    It’s totally heartbreaking to see these kids like this…

  • LoobyLooby

    welcome to instant capitalism without the infrastructure.

  • Darryl Hetherington

    I am from Australia. I use this example to show my children they are lucky. I feel sorry also for the parents who have no choice but to do this FOR the family… There should be a system in the factory to hire elderly child minders who can keep the little ones company

    When I am in China I see the extremes of wealth and poverty as so far from Chairman Mao’s plan… And I try to help even 1 family a week. It all helps. I love China – I would donate some hours each week to mind some of the young ones (I am a father)

  • Gee

    1) Not one of those children appear to be posing at all. They look tired, bored and lonely. They are very good images actually.
    2) I am curious how foreign travelers make lazy children. Are the foreign travelers raising these kids? Do the foreign travelers spend large amounts of time with them alone? I think not. Most of these children probably have little contact if not any at all with “foreign travelers”. Things like this happen when a Government devalues it people. It’s unwillingness to provide adequate child care assistance to a working class (day care centers/preschools) is a truth you ignore.
    3) In line 1 you implied that this was a fake situation yet now you are calling it a sad situation. Your misconception is apparent and you turn a blind eye to truth. You should seriously reevaluate your thinking. Stop blaming a fictitious enemy for all your problems and face reality.

    • The Anti-Racist

      LOl you definately did not get the sarcasm in that post. Did you?

  • Cimone

    I would never leave my child like this, ever, no matter the circumstance.

  • Z

    sad. at least they could let the kids be close enough to each other to play with one another.

  • The Anti-Racist

    China has a lot. And is an emerging economy. But that does not mean that everybody in China is becoming rich over night. Seeing these chikdren this way certainly breaks my heart and makes me emotional too to start trowing blames here and there. But blaming will certainly not remove any of those children on the leashes. But looking for solutions will. You people who live in poorer areas in Africa and they do have children. Well they don’t tie their kids on leashes and as somebody once said we can learn from many peaple. What they simply do is live a more community-like life. That is the old who can’t go to the long distance farms stay at home and look at the children and children I mean all the children that find themself within her home or custody for free and in return the mothers and fathers simply treat all the old as theirs. I think if this people are really that poor and if they live in some rural area then it is posible to do this. Or better still they could tie them on their backs with lawn-clothes as they work (still as some Africans do).

  • Kent

    these are some heart-breaking photos to see..

  • JoeBob

    What’s wrong with this picture??? Why aren’t these children working instead of sittin around? Then the family make more money and have a better life.

  • kide

    This Yo Kid!!!1!!!!

  • Krell

    Its heart breaking to see these children tied like this, however i think the parents don’t have any other choice. there is good parents will tied up their children with no good reasons.

  • nhfvuosadigfn

    This shows the reality some people have to face everyday

  • rabab

    may good forgev them

  • Shane

    The pictures have really shocked me.I am thinking…….