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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Rich beggars refuse govt aid (2)

By Yan Shuang (Global Times)

13:27, November 28, 2011

Other districts see high numbers of "professional" beggars. Around 80 percent of homeless people refused to be helped in Xicheng district, the Legal Mirror reported Saturday.

A 76-year-old man, who has begged near Beijing Zoo for six years, changes into shabby clothes every day, and bought a digital video camera to record inspections by rescue center staff, the report said.

"I don't have a family and I don't want to go home," said a girl in her 20s, surnamed Yan, who was begging in Sanlitun, Chaoyang district on Sunday. She was lying on a bed covered with quilts, with a note next to her explaining she became paralyzed after a car crash three years ago in her hometown in Hubei Province. Rescue centers only provide some food, which is worse than her current life. She can earn up 200 yuan ($31.4) a day, Yan said.

Half of the people at Beijing's rescue centers, who had begged, were unwilling to come at first, revealed a survey conducted by Li Yingsheng, a professor with Renmin University of China.

"Government authorities, including police, the civil affairs bureau, and district governments should work together to ensure the well-being of low-income residents, including the homeless and beggars, and stricter punishments should be worked out for those conducting fraud by begging," Li told the Global Times on Sunday.

Beggars used to be forcibly sent back to their hometowns until a regulation on the homeless was enacted in 2003. Though the current regulation employs a softer approach, tough punishments are needed when there are people begging, especially if they already receive living assistance from their hometown governments, or if they con people through begging, he said.

"Many children, especially disabled ones, are used as bait to earn money by professional begging gangs," Li said.

"The centers should help them to get into education and find their family," he noted. 

There is a municipal rescue center and different centers in Beijing's 16 districts and counties in Beijing for the homeless, administered by the Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau.

The bureau has helped 100,000 people from 2003 to 2010, 99 percent of whom were migrants, said bureau spokesperson Li Xinjing at a press conference in December last year.

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