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Guangzhou cracks down on parents who force their kids to beg for money

Posted: 03/13/2013 11:34 am

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.

Image Credit: ChinaSMACK

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


Local aid worker claims Baiyun Airport panhandlers are making big bucks

Posted: 06/7/2012 7:55 am

It’s hard to believe that anyone would take advantage of those looking to help the less fortunate, but according to a recent report in the Nan Fang Daily, there is a growing number of Guangzhou residents doing just that. As some of our readers may have noticed, panhandlers at Baiyun International Airport are an all too common site these days. But as local aid workers have discovered, several of the alleged poor are in fact far from it.

Mr. Pan, a relief worker based in Huadu District, has been working with the homeless most of his life. Yet while most homeless he encounters welcome the offer of shelter, and other resources, the homeless at Baiyun Airport are different: “Generally speaking, our job is to rescue vagrants and beggars, we’re the last line of defense. But the airport is not the same, they do not want our help.” Pan says that panhandling at the airport has become such a profitable enterprise that residents are literally “dressing up” as homeless to earn money. Pan describes cases of well-dressed individuals entering the airport with a suitcase, disappearing into the washroom, and emerging in tattered clothing to panhandle for the day.

With upwards of 200,000 daily passengers commuting through the airport, and thousands of foreign tourists looking to part with their remaining yuan before boarding international flights, most of the airport’s panhandlers are able to earn over 10,000RMB per month, with some earning as much as a million. Quite the opposite of homeless, the majority of airport panhandlers are able to rent apartments in nearby housing complexes, and commute daily by bus or taxi.

One such panhandler, Lang Peikun, better known as “The Blind” (on account of his habit of pretending to be blind to earn more money), has been panhandling at the airport for years. According to Lang, the panhandlers at Baiyun Airport are “generally very experienced”. In fact, Lang has been operating out of the airport for so long, that he now “works” with a network of panhandlers spread across the airport that communicate with mobile phones. If a particular airport gate is busy, the others will move to ensure a profitable day.

Xu Yongjun, manager of airport security is well aware of the problem. However he argues there simply isn’t the manpower to adequately address the issue: “The terminal has 36 gates… these vagrants and beggars are simply impossible to defend against.”

Yongjun and Pan are currently pressuring local government to enact legislation restricting panhandling at the airport. Pan says he wants to ensure aid gets to those who actually need it: “We cannot be arbitrarily too hard, but we have to take flexible measures.” Until then, both men argue they will continue to help as best they can.


15 year old dresses in schoolgirl uniform to solicit sex, says “anything better than being poor”

Posted: 05/3/2012 11:59 pm

Police arrested two teenaged girls – one of them only 15 – in Foshan last week after they found the girls soliciting sex, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily.

The two girls wore uniforms from the local technical school in Sanshui District and reported to their 23-year old female ringleader known as “Hei Mei”.  The girls both admitted they were ashamed of their profession, but had no other source of income.  They said they could demand a high price if they went out dressed as school girls, with one of them saying “anything is better than being poor”.

This isn’t the first time young teenaged girls have been found soliciting sex.  A similar case was reported in Shanghai last fall.


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