"Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight".....Albert Schweitzer
THIS WAS HOW A TEAM OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS FOUND THE FEMALE CHILD MEI-MING IN AN ISOLATED ROOM IN A CHINESE ORPHANAGE.
SHE WAS NOT BEING FED OR ATTENDED TO.
Before she died, she was discovered by a British documentary team that entered her orphanage posing as American charity fund-raisers.
The footage the team shot, through a concealed camera, would provide the first video evidence of the existence of dying rooms.
And when the documentary, The Dying Rooms, was shown in Britain in June, 1995 over the protest of China's embassy in London, little Mei-ming's dying cries for help were heard around the world.
CHINA'S ONE CHILD POLICY CREATED DECADES OF THROWAWAY BABIES AS CHINESE COUPLES AND THE 'STATE' PREFERRED MALE TO FEMALE CHILDREN.
IT BECAME THE NORM, AS WAS REPORTED BY HUNDREDS OF JOURNALISTS, RELIGIOUS WORKERS AND VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS WHO RESCUED THOUSANDS OF THE UNWANTED FEMALE BABIES THERE, TO SIMPLY DISPOSE OF FEMALE INFANTS QUIETLY, ABANDONING THEM TO GARBAGE HEAPS OR ALONG THOROUGHFARES...JUST TOSS THEM.
"Two years ago, the South China Morning Post gave the world evidence of dying rooms at Nanning orphanage, in the Guangxi autonomous region.
Staff and regular visitors freely admitted that 90 percent of the 50 to 60 baby girls who arrived at the orphanage each month would end their lives there.
Nanning orphanage was then overhauled, and the dying rooms there ceased to exist.
Sadly, though, an investigative British team's harrowing report suggests that attitudes toward baby girls so prevalent at Nanning two years ago are rife elsewhere.
The birth of a girl has never been a cause for celebration in China, and stories of peasant farmers drowning newborn girls in buckets of water have been commonplace for centuries.
Now, however, as a direct result of the one-child policy, the number of baby girls being abandoned, aborted, or dumped on orphanage steps is unprecedented.
THE DOCUMENTARIES, "THE DYING ROOMS" AND "RETURN TO THE DYING ROOMS" TRIED TO SHOW THE WORLD THE TRUTH OF THE CHINESE PROBLEM OF THE ONE CHILD RULE AND UNWANTED FEMALE CHILDREN, BUT CHINA VOWED IT WASN'T TRUE THAT SOME BABIES WERE LEFT IN ROOMS TO DIE.
THEN THEY REVISED THEIR ONE-CHILD POLICY, AT LEAST PUBLICLY, SO THE WORLD WOULD QUIETEN DOWN ABOUT IT.
COUPLES OF WHICH AT LEAST ONE WAS AN ONLY CHILD COULD POSSIBLY BE GRANTED THE RIGHT TO HAVE A SECOND CHILD.
WE CAN BELIEVE THE CAMERAS OR THE DENIALS.
For Kate Blewett, producer of The Dying Rooms, the investigation was a journey into the heart of darkness:
"I did not know human beings could treat children with such contempt, such cruelty. Some of the orphanages we visited were little more than death camps."
[From the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), repr. in World Press Review, September 1995, p. 39]
At one orphanage, a dozen or so baby girls sit on bamboo benches in the middle of a courtyard. Their wrists and ankles are tied to the armrests and legs of the bench.
A row of plastic buckets is lined up beneath holes in their seats to catch their urine and excrement.
The children will not be moved again until night, when they will be lifted out and tied to their beds.
The benches or chairs are designed to restrict almost all movement. It is very clear how this little girl's legs are tied to the device.
An official of the orphanage tells Blewett that last year, the orphanage had some 400 inmates.
They were kept five to a bed in one airless room.
The summer temperatures soared to around 100 degrees.
In a couple of weeks, 20 percent of the babies died.
"If 80 children died last summer, there should be 320 left," Blewett says to one of the assistants, "but there don't appear to be more than a couple of dozen children here. Where are the others?"
The girl replies; "They disappear. If I ask where they go, I am just told they die. That's all. I am afraid to ask any more."
AND THEN THERE WAS "MEI-MING" (which means "no name").
The worst orphanage, the home of Mei-ming, was in Guangdong, one of the richest provinces in China.
When the documentary team arrived, there were no children to be seen or heard.
Then from under one of the blankets laid over a cot. there was the sound of crying.
Lifting the blanket and unwrapping a tied bundle of cloth, Blewett found a baby girl.
The last layer of her swaddling was a plastic bag filled with urine and feces.
The next cot was the same, and the next and the next.
Many of the children had deep lesions where the string they were tied with had cut into their bodies.
IN A SEPARATE ROOM, THEY FOUND MEI-MING.
Mei-ming has lain this way for 10 days now: tied up in urine-soaked blankets, scabs of dried mucus growing across her eyes, her face shrinking to a skull, malnutrition slowly shrivelling her two-year old body. The orphanage staff call her room the "dying room", and they have abandoned here for the very same reasons her parents abandoned her shortly after she was born. She is a girl.
When Mei-ming dies four days later, it will be of sheer neglect. Afterward, the orphanage will deny she ever existed. She will be just another invisible victim of the collision between China's one-child policy and its traditional preference for male heirs. She is one of perhaps 15 million female babies who have disappeared from China's demographics since the one-child-per-family policy was introduced in 1979.
"We don't want to criticize the one-child policy," says Blewett. "But we want to focus on the problems it is causing which can be solved." The documentary features a tour of a privately run, locally funded orphanage where the children are happy, healthy, and loved. "We were very keen to show what can be done with the right attitude," says Blewett. "No child should suffer the kind of neglect we filmed."
WE CAN BELIEVE THE STORY BEHIND THE RECENT PHOTOGRAPH THAT "WENT VIRAL" THAT SHOWS A YOUNG MOTHER FORCED TO HAVE AN ABORTION OF HER FULL-TERM FEMALE BABY, WHICH WE CAN SEE LYING DEAD BESIDE HER, OR WE CAN BELIEVE PRESS RELEASES FROM CHINESE OFFICIALS.
Feng Jianmei was hooded, abducted and forcibly injected to induce the abortion Feng's husband, Deng Jiyuan, said. The couple had failed to meet demands for 40,000 yuan for breaking birth control rules, he told the South China Morning Post.
THIS IS A COMMON PRACTICE IN CHINA, OTHER WOMEN TOLD THE TELEGRAPH UK.
"Family planning bureaus hired local monitors, often older local women, to watch over communities for any signs of growing bellies, or anyone trying to hide their pregnancy.
SURPRISINGLY, TO ME AT LEAST, SOME SOUTH KOREANS ALSO DISPOSE OF THEIR UNWANTED CHILDREN, IF WE BELIEVE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS FROM THAT COUNTRY.
ONE MAN AND HIS WIFE FOUND A WAY TO SAVE A FEW CAST-OFF BABIES IN SOUTH KOREA AND WE CAN SEE THE EVIDENCE OF BABY ABANDONMENT THERE IN THE FILM, "THE BABY BOX".
THEY OFFERED A BOX AT THEIR HOME WHERE BABIES COULD BE DROPPED OFF WITHOUT THE MOTHER REVEALING HERSELF.
Many of these rescued children have birth defects.
Over the course of human history, birth defects often meant and STILL mean instant death.
SIMILAR STORIES OF THROW-AWAY BABIES AND YOUNG CHILDREN ARE REPEATED IN VIETNAM, ROMANIA, BULGARIA, GUATEMALA, ALMOST EVERYWHERE ACROSS THE GLOBE.
I FOUND VIDEOS FROM MANY COUNTRIES DETAILING THE SAME PROBLEM OF DISPOSAL OF THE 'UNWANTED'.
DOCUMENTARIES OF BRAZIL'S STREET CHILDREN BEING HUNTED DOWN AND SOME KILLED AS THEY SLEPT BEGAN TO SURFACE BEFORE 1990.
CHILD ABUSE WAS CITED AS ONE REASON EVEN YOUNG CHILDREN RAN AWAY.
AS THE BALTIMORE SUN WROTE:
Why, Pope John Paul II wanted to know, are there so many small children living on the streets in Brazil?
And how could a society tolerate these children being murdered by death squads in the pay of businessmen wanting to clean up their neighborhoods?
SOLD AS SLAVES
According to the Anti-Slavery Society there are 200 million ''child slaves'' around the world.
In Tamil Nadu, India, there are 45,000 children, some of them only 4 or 5 years old, at work in the fireworks and match industry.
In Bangkok, according to the Thai Center for the Protection of Children's Rights, there are some 800,000 girl prostitutes between the ages of 12 and 15.
Between January and March every year, children are sold near Bangkok's main railway station.
HERE IN AMERICA, WE MAY SHAKE OUR HEADS IN DISBELIEF, HORROR OR SORROW, BUT WE MUST REMEMBER THAT AMERICA HAS TERMINATED ALMOST 60 MILLION UNWANTED BABIES' LIVES JUST SINCE 1973.
WE CALL IT ABORTION.
INTERESTINGLY, MOST AMERICANS, ABOUT 70%, SAY THEY EITHER BELIEVE ABORTION SHOULD ONLY BE LEGAL IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES (e.g., rape or incest) OR SHOULD BE COMPLETELY ILLEGAL.
THAT'S QUITE A MAJORITY.
AMERICA HAS NOT BEEN RULED BY THE MAJORITY IN PERHAPS A CENTURY NOW.
WE ARE RULED BY TINY MINORITIES OF PERHAPS 1%, 2%, OR 6% OF THE AMERICAN POPULATION.
HERE, JUST AS IN OTHER NATIONS THAT MANY CALL "THIRD-WORLD COUNTRIES", THE PLIGHT OF UNWANTED, ABUSED, ABANDONED, MOLESTED AND MURDERED CHILDREN ARE NOT OFTEN SPOKEN OF OR WRITTEN ABOUT IN THE MEDIA.
THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN ARE JUST NOT AS IMPORTANT TO MAINSTREAM MEDIA AS THOSE OF SOME OF THE SMALLEST MINORITY GROUPS, WHETHER THE MINORITY IS THE ELITE 'SUPER-RICH' 1%, THE 3% WHO SAY THEY ARE ATHEISTS, THE 7% WHO SAY THEY ARE MUSLIMS, THE 3% OF THE LESBIAN/GAY/BISEXUAL/TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY, OR ANY OTHER SMALL GROUP BATTLING FOR THEIR OWN 'RIGHTS'.
CHILDREN'S RIGHTS JUST DON'T SEEM TO SELL NEWSPAPERS, DON'T MAKE FOR "GOOD COPY".
CHILDREN UNDER 17 WERE ALMOST 30% OF AMERICA'S POPULATION IN 2010.
THEY MAKE UP 69% OF ALL 'DEPENDENT CITIZENS' WHO GET FEDERAL OR STATE AID HERE.
ALMOST 3/4ths OF THOSE AMERICANS MOST OF THE NATION HATE TO HELP, THOSE WHO ARE OFTEN CURSED AS "MOOCHERS" ARE CHILDREN... CHILDREN!
IN 2014, THE 'CHILDREN'S DEFENCE FUND PUBLISHED AN INCREDIBLE, THOUGH DISHEARTENING REPORT ON THE STATUS OF AMERICA'S CHILDREN.
I DOUBT FEW ARE AWARE OF OUR CHILDREN'S MOST SERIOUS PLIGHT.
Every fifth child (16.1 million) is poor, and every tenth child (7.1 million) is extremely poor. Children are the poorest age group and the younger they are the poorer they are.
Every fourth infant, toddler and preschool child (5 million) is poor; 1 in 8 is extremely poor.
96% OF THE POOREST CHILDREN ARE NOT, NOT SERVED BY "SOCIAL WELFARE" PROGRAMS. THEY GET NO 'FOOD STAMPS', NO HELP OF ANY KIND FROM THE GOVERNMENT.
69% OF ALL NEEDY AMERICAN CHILDREN ARE NOT GETTING MEDICAID OR ANY OTHER 'HEALTH BENEFITS'.
EACH DAY IN AMERICA...
~ 1,836 children are confirmed as abused or neglected. THAT'S JUST THE ONES WHO ARE REPORTED.
~ 1,285 babies are born into extreme poverty.
~ EVERY DAY 65 babies die before their first birthdays.
~ 48 children or teens are injured or killed by gunfire.
~ Every hour of every day a child or teen dies from an accident.
~ 6 children or teens commit suicide.
~ 4 children are killed by abuse or neglect.
EACH DAY, EVERY DAY, 385 DAYS EVERY YEAR....IN AMERICA.
MIT Nobel laureate economist Robert Solow in his foreword to a 1994 CDF report Wasting America’s Future was prescient when he wrote:
“For many years Americans have allowed child poverty levels to remain astonishingly high — higher than for American adults; higher than for children in nations that are our competitors; higher than from the entire period of the late 1960s and 1970s, a period when we had less wealth as a nation than we do now; and far higher than one would think a rich and ethical society would tolerate.
The justification, when one is offered at all, has often been that action is expensive: ‘We have more will than wallet.’
I suspect that in fact our wallets exceed our will, but in any event this concern for the drain on our resources completely misses the other side of the equation: Inaction has its costs too…
As an economist I believe that good things are worth paying for; and that even if curing children’s poverty were expensive, it would be hard to think of a better use in the world for money.
If society cares about children, it should be willing to spend money on them.”
IN NATIONS WHERE A YEAR'S WAGES CAN BE UNDER $1000, IMAGINE HOW MANY CHILDREN ARE LOST.
CAN WE REALLY IMAGINE THAT?
"Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight".....Albert Schweitzer
AN ESTIMATED 400,000 ABANDONED "STREET CHILDREN" IN INDIA.
Mainly because of family conflict, they come to live on the streets and take on the full responsibilities of caring for themselves, including working to provide for and protecting themselves.
Though street children do sometimes band together for greater security, they are often exploited by employers and the police