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Death of five street boys is man-made tragedy

(People's Daily Online)

15:06, November 21, 2012

An avoidable tragedy happened in Bijie, Guizhou province on the morning of Nov. 16 when the bodies of five children about 10 years old were found in a trash container in the city proper. Preliminary investigations showed that the five boys had died of carbon monoxide poisoning after apparently burning charcoal inside the trash container to keep warm.

The boys climbed inside the trash container to escape the cold, but unfortunately died in it. At the age of 10, they should have been taken good care of at homes and lived a carefree life. However, they died on the streets, suffering from hunger and cold. They should have received compulsory education, but they were far away from both their homes and schools. Who should be responsible for the tragic death of these abandoned children?

The overnight low temperature in Bijie was 7 degrees Celsius. That night was not very cold, so it was actually a man-made rather than natural tragedy. A witness said that the children used to live in a shack built from plastic tarpaulin, cement bricks, and thin boards at a demolition and construction site. If the local police or aid center found the problem in a timely fashion and took quick measures, the tragedy could have been avoided. If local residents or public welfare organizations extended a helping hand, the tragedy may not have happened in the first place. However, there are no ifs, and the tragedy eventually happened.

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Source:Beijing Times, author:Wei Yingjie.

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