Parents in Guangzhou who force their kids to beg for cash could soon find themselves without their offspring.
Officials in Guangzhou are threatening to take children out of the care of parents if they continue to turn their kids into beggars, it was announced on Monday.
Under a proposed legal revision, rescue shelters will be able to refer cases to judges if they are concerned about a child’s welfare, and courts have the power to appoint new custodians. The legal framework provides firm protection for minors.
Small children begging is a common occurrence in China. Foreigners, in particular, are targets for their perceived wealth as children use their hands or tin plates to indicate a ‘need’ for help. Often, they walk alongside or get in contact with their targets to entice a sympathetic reaction. Taojin in Guangzhou has become a notorious hotspot for this practice.
Experts have praised the move to protect children, but warn taking children away from their parents should only be done as a last resort and courts must be compassionate before issuing judgment.
Zhang Wenjuan, a lawyer specializing in legal aid services offered to minors, tells the Global Times:
“Custody disqualification should be a last resort,” said Zhang. “Government departments and agencies should provide compassionate services and intervene before finally proceeding to that stage. Authorities should be fully informed of the reason why parents take their children to beg, offer a training session on how to take good care of their children, and supervise parents’ behavior to see whether a disqualification is truly needed.”
Significantly, children housed in shelters will qualify for education as any other child would. Children in one of these centres for more than two years will be transferred to government agencies, put up for adoption, or housed in orphanages.
The tough new measures are designed to clean up the streets, and indeed, enforce the city slogan “Civilised Guangzhou”.
Source: Global Times