Man founding rescue center for young beggars

13:07, March 01, 2011      

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The initiator of a campaign to prevent children from begging plans to set up a nursing institution in Baoding city, North China's Hebei province, in cooperation with the local branch of the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC).

The institution is designed to provide rehabilitative services to child beggars who suffered physical or mental abuse and to offer educational programs to those who are of school age, said Yu Jianrong, who has launched a nationwide micro-blogging campaign aimed at eliminating child begging in China.

Yu also revealed on Monday that he is prepared to build another nursing home in the Honghe Hani and Yi autonomous prefecture in Southwest China's Yunnan province.

Baoding city is an ideal place to establish a nursing institution to help child beggars, both because of its convenient transport system and its close proximity to Beijing, which has a large number of child beggars, said Han Ya, vice-president of RCSC Baoding branch.

The location will also make it easier for the institution to raise money from wealthy businesses in the capital, she said.

But the planners have not made decisions about various important details, leaving uncertain how long the rescued child beggars can stay in the nursing home and how many children the institution can accommodate, Han told China Daily in a telephone interview.

Meanwhile, questions over custody rights will be an obstacle to the successful operation of such shelters, according to Chen Wei, a lawyer in Beijing.

"It's difficult to transfer the custody rights for these children, who were found on the streets, to a third party, especially if their parents are still alive," Chen said.

Statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs show that there are 130 child protection centers throughout China, each of them under local civil affairs departments.

"I think it is much wiser if we can make better use of existing institutions to help homeless children rather than creating more organizations," said Ma Li, a homeless child rescue center director in Xuzhou, East China's Jiangsu province.

Ma said a large number of official child-welfare homes are not fully occupied, making it a waste of resources to establish new institutions for the aid of homeless children.

Ma also said it won't be easy to guarantee that enough money will be available to pay for the long-term operation of the non-governmental institutions, especially if such places must rely completely on charitable giving.

Nor will every rescued homeless child be happy with life in official rescue centers.

In a survey conducted by China Youth and Children Research Center, about 57 percent of the homeless children polled said they think their freedom is restrained in such centers, China Youth Daily reported on Thursday.

The survey further found that more than 30 percent of the respondents complained about the food and boring life they encountered in rescue institutions.

Before this latest attempt at establishing the centers, a private-run child beggar home in Southwest China's Chongqing municipality was disbanded after it had failed to obtain an official permit.

Jiang Lin, a 29-year-old ex-convict, founded a private child welfare home in Chongqing, calling it Sensen School for Orphans and Homeless Children. Starting in 2006, it sheltered and schooled homeless children, according to China Youth Daily's report. But it was forced to close in early 2010 after local authorities had received a report claiming it wasn't registered with the local civil affairs department.

Source: China Daily

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