Nanjing: Photo of 4 year old forced to beg naked shocks China

The child was identified only after the picture was posted on the internet and shared by thousands of users. Now along with her father, who is mentally disabled, she has been sent back to her native village where, however, there is no help available “because they do not have papers.” Experts denounce the ineffectiveness of child protection laws.Nanjing (AsiaNews) – The image of a 4 year old girl naked, taken by an anonymous photographer while she smokes and begs on the streets of Nanjing, has shocked the Chinese people. It has also raised the question of how effective laws for the protection of children are in the country, while experts denounce ineffective and vague norms: “we can not go on like this.”

The photograph was taken in early July and posted online: within just a few hours tens of thousands of users of Sina Weibo – China’s most popular microblogging site – shared it across the network, adding outraged comments at the conditions of the child. Only after the criticism of cyber users did Jiangsu’s provincial capital’s authorities intervene.

Officials identified the child and her father – Zhou Chonggao, who apparently is mentally disabled – and sent them back to their village Chenlong, about 200 kilometers from Nanjing. Here, however, little can be done for them, given that the child does not have a hukou, a birth and residence certificate that allows every Chinese citizen to obtain medical care, food and accommodation. The process of registration has begun, but the case has startlingly revealed the loopholes in China’s social system.

Only days earlier, in fact, two children aged 1 and 3 years were found dead in an apartment again in Nanjing. The children were abandoned by their mother, a drug addict and died of starvation. Also in this case the authorities intervened too late and only after the media had discovered and reported the case.

Niu Xuexing, deputy director of the Department of Civil Affairs of Jiangsu, said that behind these dramas is the problem of vague legislation in matters of child protection: “We have laws to protect children but they are too vague and weak. In foreign nations, this type of mental and physical abuse against minors is punished to the point that children are taken away from unfit parents”.

Many people also wonder if the rampant materialism (both Marxist and consumerist), along with a loss of traditional morality is not erasing “all humanity” from the life of the Chinese people. Underling this “lack of care for the person” many point to the case of  little Yueyue, a two year old girl run over by two trucks, left suffering on the street suffer by dozens of passers-by.

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