Sunday, 13 February 2011

A Chinese Dr Barnardo

Browsing the web for interesting stories on China, I came across a shocked post from The Girl From Emei. Emei is in Sichuan province, but the girl is clearly living in Beijing. 
“There’s always beggars on the underground, it’s nothing out of the ordinary and nothing seems to stop them. There’s every kind: ones singing, ones selling art, holding babies, disabled ones, male or female, young and old, alone or in groups, loads of them, but the little girl I saw on Line 2 today made me angry, really furious!!!! I curse the people who teach and force others to beg - I hope they die childless, and come to a sticky end!!!!
“It was at Jishuitan or Drum Tower Avenue, one of the two stations, just as the doors were closing, and a little girl of about 3 ran into the carriage, well, I use the word ‘girl’, but she was nothing but a little devil straight from hell (and I don’t mean ‘little devil’ in the way the older generation uses it as a term of affection!!). She was in filthy red clothes, with dusty hair, and she just fell to the ground and knelt there with her hands clasped out in front, begging, grabbing people’s trouser legs, stroking at their legs, asking for money. The first one happened to be a bloke who’d seen it all before and wouldn’t give, so the little devil gave up after a while and shot off to find another target. Each time, the stroking got more and more, and I mean really clinging on to their trouser legs, while what she was saying was getting more and more pitiful.
“Underneath I’m a real pushover, and when I see those real hard-case beggars I just look away and wish I was wearing a face-mask so I wouldn’t get spotted. It looked as though no-one had given anything, so then she really went to town, bending her body about and clutching her hands together, and when I caught a glimpse of her expression it actually made me jump. It wasn’t the expression of a 3- or 4-year-old girl, it was such a look of cunning, of an ability to read people’s body language, totally beyond restraint, the kind of expression that says it’ll stop at absolutely nothing. I remembered there was this photo, a piece of artwork, the face of some kid in a really violent neighbourhood in New York or LA, and beside the photo it said he was only 10, but he’d already learned all that was criminal or evil about the world. This little girl gave me an even deeper impression that she wasn’t a little girl at all, but then if not a child, what was she?”
Just a few minutes later, No Money, No Standing replied.
“What was she to do? She’s a victim, too. The only reason you’re so disgusted is because you’re of a different class. Nobody’s in a position to criticize girls like her.”
The Older I Get The Lonelier I Become added:
“Three is so tiny, that’s so sad, if she doesn’t beg enough, she’d get beaten. You ought to get the police to take them to a shelter.”
But it was Elegant and Carefree whose reply most surprised me, as I’m unused to hearing the good news about stuff like this from China:
“When you all come across a kid like this, just at the split second the doors are about to shut, before the person who’s making her beg gets a chance to react, scoop her up and get off the train. Change to Line 1, get off at Sihui, get the Batong Line to Tuqiao, then get a car to the Guang’ai School that takes in homeless kids. Take the child to teacher Shi Qinghua. Children there get very well taken care of. Each weekend, a whole bunch of volunteers and charitable enterprises go to look after the children. Their number’s 52330158.
I’m going to be looking into who Shi Qinghua is, and what his Guang’ai School’s all about, and posting on what I find. It’s a good news story that I feel should be more widely known.

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