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Archive for the ‘child abuse’ Category

unconditional.
unconditional. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all need love. This is because that love make us feel connected to others, and this connection eases, or even eliminates our biggest fear: loneliness. Thus love becomes the greatest – sometime the only – reason for us to live.

But, unfortunately, love from others are not entirely secure. It comes and goes without warning and it’s not within our controls. This is because love from others usually is “conditional”, which means it happens only if we possess certain conditions, such as physical beauty, wealth, social status, etc. So without these conditions, we are in danger of losing love. But, if one possesses a type of love that is “unconditional”, he/she would feel the most secure in his/her life, because this love is provided regardless how he/she is, and stays with him/her as long as he/she lives. 

So where does unconditional love come from? I found that they mostly come from two sources: 1, parents; 2, one’s own.

Read the rest of this entry »

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I always think, that child abuse is the number 1 problem in China. But, no matter how serious I think it is, the facts never failed to stun me. Based on recently news, there are some new type of “schools” in China, which I never heard of before, called “correctional schools” or “correctional camps”, where kids are sent there for the purpose of correcting their bad behaviors, such as obsession with online, etc. Not sure if the concept was actually adopted from elsewhere. During training period, parents were usually forbidden to contact with schools (more ridiculously, many parents granted this rules). The consequence is, children were serious abused (mental and physical) and some of them died.

One girl in this news died by corporal punishment, with was common in this “school” (Zhengzou New Concept Combating school, 郑州新观念搏强学校), called “back crashing” (后倒): several “teachers” held kids’ limbs who were face up, and hit the bodies to ground repeatedly. Sorry, I don’t feel like continuing for the details. I guess you all get idea what’s the consequence.

http://www.wenxuecity.com/news/2014/06/17/3363520.html

Yet, still majority of Chinese people do not think this is a problem. There is something serious serious wrong with that nation. Call me paranoid!

 

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain o...
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. (Photo credit: Aristocrats-hat)

Every once in awhile there were always people telling me, or implying to me, that I should be grateful to my profession, naturally, grateful to my parents, for at least I could make living by doing portraits or teaching art. But NO, I am NOT grateful to my profession, nor to my parents, because 1, if I were, I grant what my parents did to me, and  that’s something I would never ever do, simply because child abuse is wrong; 2, making living never was a problem to me, and if it appeared to be once or twice, art was precisely the cause, not the solution.

My fighting to get away with art profession was not because of my resentment to my parents (if it was, it’s only during the moments when I was extremely weak, which I openly admit, because I am human), but my clear “knowledge” of myself. Since very young age, I knew what kind of intelligence I had and what kind of person I wanted to be. My current “negotiate” with art profession is just a temporary refugee, due to my middle age health “disaster”, which lasts more than a decade. This “negotiation” doesn’t mean I have given up my “dream”, neither it means I would feel miserable if I cannot reach my “dream”. I found peace with myself and my fate, include the fighting part – which means I would still fight whenever I can.

Talking about gratitude, there are lots of things in my life I feel grateful for, but mostly, I feel extremely grateful and lucky for my positive nature, which was the reason I survived from a extremely “sick” and poisonous family, and still be able to love life. I am also grateful for being able to living in this country, where I could live freely, think and talk freely. And there are lots more, which are not necessary to be mentioned in this short post.

Another day we had discussion in BC about what’s the mantra for life, here is mine: know what you want, try your best to get it, and if you fail, find peace with it, but never give up without a try (fight).

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Child on New Year's Day
Child on New Year’s Day (Photo credit: ROSS HONG KONG)

When Michelle Obama gave speech in Qinhua university during her visiting China just a while ago, she mentioned that she had to work very hard in college, sometime got up at 5 o’clock in the morning. This remark surprised lots of Chinese young students, and one of them posted a Weibo (similar to twitter) message like this: “Even Chinese children don’t get up that early.”

What does this message mean? It means that in China, children’s working hard, enduring stress is something most Chinese people take it for granted!

I have written enough articles about this subject (in Chinese) so I don’t feel like to repeat. And I think the above message already speaks for itself, showing what children’s life in China is like.

P.S. The image happened to be a little funny. I meant to find a serious one, but this one is too cute to ignore. I trust her not to take her parents’ and future teachers’ cr*p!

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(Caution! The case examples are extremely disturbing!)

Dear UNICEF,

I am writing this letter to call your attention to the family child abuse situation in China.

Family child abuse in China has been a serious social problem and it has never been confronted by Chinese society and government. During the recent couple of decades, while China enjoys its economy rising, its spiritual side seems to be more corrupted than ever. Children, the most vulnerable group among the Chinese population, become the worst victims of this moral degeneration.

Here are several severe case examples:

 Case 1: 1993, Xining, Qinghai province. Li Su, a 5 year-old tortured to death by her biological mother. 

A photo of Li Su sitting in a hospital
bed when she was alive.

1993, in Xining (西宁市), Qinghai province (青海省) of China, a 5- year-old girl was tortured to death by her biological mother. Her name was Li Su (苏丽). During her short life, Li had suffered all kinds of mental and physical abuses, including verbal abuse, savage beatings, and starving. More horrendously, more than once, Li’s mouth was sewn together with needle and thread. One day when Li was five-years-old, due to tremendous hunger, she begged for food, but what her “mother” did was feed her with hot boiling cooking oil. After this astonishing torture, the “mother” did not send her daughter to the hospital; instead, she continued physically abusing her for several days, until Li finally died of unimaginable pain.

Li Su’s mother, Zhiyun Yan, served only 7 years in prison. Now she is a free woman. She destroyed her daughter’s tomb after she got out of jail.

http://pilosopogyno.tumblr.com/post/49071586334

 Case 2: 2013, Nanjing, Jiangsu province. Two baby girls were left in a locked home for over 100 days and staved to death.

June 2013, in the city of Nanjing (南京市), Jiangsu province (江苏省) of China, two girls, ages one and three years old, were left alone at home for over 100 days and starved to death, due to completely incapable and irresponsible mothering. The case is still being investigated.

http://roll.sohu.com/20130628/n380124741.shtml

Case 3: 2013, Jinsha county, Guizhou province. A young girl has been brutally tortured by her biological father for over five years.  

“Little Li”‘s head was scalded by boiling
water. She was held upside down by
her father while her head was put inside
boiling water. Father claimed that he wasonly trying to wash her hair.

July 2013, in Jinsha county (金沙县), Guizhou province (贵州) of China, a man was arrested for brutally torturing his 11-year-old daughter “Little Li” for 5 years, including pouring boiling water over her head, sewing her mouth together, using needles to prick her fingers, etc. The girl suffers tremendous physical and mental trauma.

http://news.sina.com.cn/s/p/2013-05-12/175827099753.shtml

All fingers were pricked by needles.

Case 4: 2013, Shuicheng county, Guizhou province. A 12-year-old girl was tortured by her parents for years. She escaped after being branded with a red-hot iron rod all over her body (including genital area) by her mother, but was sent back to her parents by police.

Xiaoyan in hospital.

In 2013, in Shuicheng county (水城县), Guizhou province (贵州省) of China, a 12- year-old girl “Xiao Yan” (晓燕)escaped from “home” after her body was branded literally all over with a red-hot fire rod by her parents – mostly her mother. Several days later she ended up at a local police department. After Xiao Yan’s father handed a “letter of repentance” to police, Xiao Yan was sent back to her parents. Soon she escaped again due to her parents’ continuing physical tortures. This time her parents were arrested and Xiao Yan is allegedly under hospital care.

http://learning.sohu.com/20130126/n364688803.shtml

Branding wounds all over Xiao Yans’ body.
The wounds on her legs. Some of them are
deep enough to show the bones.

Case 5: 2012, Bijie, Guizhou province. A 6 year-old girl was tortured by her parents with various brutal methods. 

2012, in Bijie (毕节), Guizhou province (贵州省) of China, a 6-year-old girl, Ting Ting (婷婷)was found astonishingly abused by her parents, torture methods included kneeling on a nailboard, slashing with iron wire, branding with a hot iron rod, etc.

http://tieba.baidu.com/p/2002957291?see_lz=1

Branding wounds on Ting Ting’s body.
The stove used to prepare hot rod that
were used to brand Ting Ting.

Case 6: 2013, Nanjing, Jiangsu province. A group of young girls was forced to beg naked on the street. 

2013, in Nanjing (南京), Jiangsu province (江苏省) of China, images of a group of young girls naked and begging on the streets stirred some attention online and soon, one of the girls was found by police. She was forced by her parents to go on the street begging naked to “earn” more money.

http://news.sina.com.cn/s/p/2013-07-04/173127578392.shtml

These are just a few samples that have been already exposed. We can reasonably imagine that there are many more similar crimes still hidden and ongoing. The real horror behind these astonishing crimes is not only how brutal they were, but also the fact that they were not committed underground. All these sample cases were more or less known to neighborhoods, condemned by some people even in the media, yet they were still not stopped. The first case (Li Su, 1993) was reported in newspapers several times, but Li Su was nonetheless left alone until she paid the ultimate price. All these examples reveal a fact, that child abuse, especially family child abuse in China is not well recognized by society and not effectively supervised and punished by the law. Children in China who suffer from family abuse are not properly protected, and we could even say, based on the cases above, those children were not protected at all.

Besides these types of extreme crimes, the relatively milder child abuse in China is much more “visible” and can be seen almost everywhere. Here are some statistics created in a research paper: Child abuse in China: a yet-to-be-acknowledged “social problem” in the Chinese Mainland, created in 2004, by D.P.Qiao and Y.C.Chan from Capital University of Economics and Business and Hong Kong Polytechnic University:
http://www.acad.polyu.edu.hk/~ssycchan/Child%20Abuse%20in%20China%201.pdf

“There are at present no national statistics on child abuse in China, but some survey data will throw light on the problem. In 2001, a national survey of 3543 married people conducted by the China Law Society showed that 71.9% of the interviewees reported to have had the experience of being beaten by their parents during their childhood (Liu & Zhang 2002). In Beijing, it has been found that 6 in 10 students had experienced physical punishment and disguised physical punishment from their teachers (Hao 1999). In a parallel study on primary students in China and Korea between 1998 and 1999, 70.6% of the Chines children had experienced family violence in the year preceding the study and the rates of corporal punishment by teachers were 51.1%.”

The seriousness of Child abuse in China has been ignored, covered, or disguised by both government and society, consciously or unconsciously, due to many complicated reasons, such as cultural tradition, nationalistic sentiment, politics, etc., and it certainly cannot be changed overnight. However, in this 21st century, I believe Chinese children need to be watched by all people in the world who are concerned about human rights, because a significant number of Chinese children are being treated as less than human beings (even less than animals), living in a dire situation that causes them unimaginable suffering. I sincerely hope that the international organization of UNICEF can make some effort in regard to this serious matter.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Yun Yi

An ordinary Chinese American and a humanist

(This letter has been edited by Madilyn Leonard Benrubi, a blogger friend of mine. A big THANKS!)

Wang Xiang (Osho) ice fishes for mother's meal
Wang Xiang (Osho) ice fishes for mother’s meal (Photo credit: Claremont Colleges Digital Library)

It has been frustrating. After I initiated two blogs and one facebook page for Su Li’s Day (a day for remembering a girl who was tortured to death by her own mother, also for all child abuse victims in China), a netizen friend suggested that I should write a petition (a joint signed letter) to legislature in China, to appeal for actions in Chinese government to concern this issue, to establish a more executable law and some organizations for children’s protection. I thought this was such a great idea. Though I knew this may not work out, I wrote a draft nonetheless, just to see how far this could go. However, after I posted the draft in the forum of CND (Chinese News Digest) and another Chinese popular website, asking for advices or suggestions, and support (by sending me their “signatures”, basically just names), the responses were very disappointing. Only a few people responded, most of suggestions were neither geniune, nor relevant. And needless to mention some of them were scornfully discouraging. Even though dozens of people supported the idea before I made draft, only two people sent me their signatures after 3 days since I posted draft.

In 2011, some school activity: washing parents’ feet. Serving
parents (like “slaves”) is the primary teaching of Confucianim.

Personally, I do not believe China has much hope from within. If we want to see some progress in humanity in this society, some fundamental cultural ideology has to be changed, even eliminated, but very few Chinese people would agree on this view. Many people (include some none-Chinese) might see China appears to be very strong now, but please be aware, that the recently decade of soaring economy was promoted by international markets, together with all imported technologies. Under such glowing surface, the disparity of rich and poor, the degeneration of morality accelerated by the same speed of economy rising. And for solving moral problem, again, Chinese society turned to Confucianism, an ancient outdated yet lifeless ideology based on ancestor worship. This ideology was superficially “destroyed” by Mao, especially during Cultural Revolution, but after economy “prospered” during recent couple of decades, Confucianism not only did not weakened, but revived. I was saddened a few days ago when I heard that “24 Filial Piety Exemplars”, a notorious traditional Chinese moral teaching text, virtually nothing more than a book of child abuse, again appears in some elementary schools’ textbooks in China.

After being disappointed by all of these, I realized, that this open letter I drafted, which nonetheless will be read by some people, would be a “period” of my over ten years serious thinking about this subject – how the widely spread child abuse in China relates to Chinese tradition. As an individualist, I have no interest, nor energy to involve in any social activities, writing this petition letter was completely motivated by my own personal conscience. And I am fully aware of that this petition will be like a water drop in ocean, soon disappears without any trace of it. I am just fine with that, because I understand, when facing such a stubborn tradition, the real solution lies in collective effort. And if the society doesn’t make any effort, or if the collective effort went to wrong direction, the solution would have to rely on some natural/historical mechanism, which doesn’t always favor human-interest (if you know what I am talking about).

Yes, I am disappointed, but not personally unhappy, because my interest will move on, from this “Chinese problem”, to some much more fascinating “human problems”. (Oh boy, I am certainly not a problem solver, but a problem finder. :-))

 

—————————–
*The illustration above is one of 24 Filial Piety Exemplars which tells a (adult) son lying down on icy surface of river, using his body temperature to thaw the ice, in order to get fishes for his mother to eat. So please don’t be fooled by the beautiful art style, the content is sticky!

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Chinese children
Chinese children (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Caution! I tried my best but some of description of physical abuse can be disturbing for some people.)
(This is a translation of my Chinese essay with the same title.)

——————————

I don’t usually celebrate June First – the international children’s day. However this year seems to be a little different, I’ve been thinking about one of my childhood friend: “Qingwen”, and like to write an article about him. I don’t remember what his family name was, nor how to spell his name in Chinese characters, because I have not seen him again since I was 5 and half year old, and for all these years, or decades I should say, he was totally absent fromn my life. Now, as Chidren’s Day is coming, he suddenly came back to my mind.

When I was 4 or 5 year-old, both of my parents were too busy (working “for Communist Party and the Country”) to take care of me, so I was sent to a temporary foster family. It was not so temporary though, I lived with the family at least 2 years. The family name was “Guo”. Mrs. Guo was an old lady and everyone called her “Mother Guo”, I called her “grandma”. Even though non of my grandparents were alive upon the time I was born, I felt “Mother Guo” was indeed my grandma. Mr. Guo – to whom I called “grandpa”-  also treated me kindly, so did all their children, who were all much older than me. I received plenty of love in this family and I felt more attach to them than to my own parents. Though overall my childhood was dark, the years I lived with this family was bright, except one shadow, which was Qingwen.

Qingwen was a son of a single father, who lived next door to Mother Guo. He was about the same age as me, or probably slightly younger. I cannot remember how he looked like, nor what kind of games we played together, but it doesn’t matter, because what I am going to write, is not his biography, but the only memory he left in my mind: a child who was abused terribly by his own father.

Mother Guo’s house was a in one-floor building complex, in which 3 families resided. Guos was in the middle, contained multiple rooms, which was a luxury at the time. On the left side, was Pens’ family, whose youngest daughter was my best friend; on the right side, was Qingwen’s home. His home had only one room. None of our friends visited his house, occasionally we would take a “sneak peek” of inside from the door, it was dark and lifeless. I could remember seeing a messy and dirty bed, a table, a few chairs, and some random items scattered on dirty ground. Qingwen’s father was a blue laborer, I don’t remember what kind of job he did, all I remember was one of his eyes was blind, and he was always drunk.

It seemed that Qingwen’s father went to work everyday, left his son alone at home. So Qingwen played with us sometime. When his father came back late afternoon, if he was in good mood, Qingwen would be OK, but if not, Qingwen would get beaten up for no reasons at all. Usually the “father” used some sort of bamboo stick slash son’s hand, but in “severe” cases, a hot red metal fire rod would be “necessary”. We often heard crying from next door, but it seemed to be “normal”, and it was no body’s business. I don’t remember how many times when I passed his house, saw Qingwen was tied up on a tree in front of his house, crying alone, looked at me in despair. I also remember, not only once probably, when I passed their door, I saw his father using a red fire rod to slash his bare feet. The “father” was yelling something, and when his voice raised up, the red fire rod would land on Qingwen’s naked skin. Qingwen was jumping around with unimaginable pain, and screaming. I also remember that he always screamed before the fire rod touched him, with that unspeakable fear, and when it touched on his skin his scream was simply just louder, probably loudest he could make. He must wanted to escape, but he had certainly nowhere to go, also he was ordered not to, so all he could try was few square feet area, jumping back forth like a crazy little animal.

I often saw Qingwen was tied on tree, but never saw his father torturing him while he was tied. Qingwen was beaten always while he had his hands and feet “free”, and no matter how much pain he suffered, he always stay in the same spot after jumping or crying, “voluntarily” gave his father’s “job” the most “convenience”. His father sometime even could sat comfortably, made his son creaming and jumping by easy lifting of his arm (How powerful was that!). Years later I realized, that tying Qingwen on the tree was actually for another kind of “convenience” – the “father” often went out (probably to buy liquor), but he did not want his son making “trouble”, and did not want to bother neighbors, so the easiest solution for such “problem” was tying his son up.

Probably because back then there was no ventilate system inside houses, people would put their stove – the old fashioned coal stove – outside of house. For a few times, I (together with some of my playmates, I guess) stole the fire rod from stove, either put it in water, or threw away. That might be the only help Qingwen received from people, and obviously, it did not help him much. For after all these years, the only memory jumps into my mind, was still his despair expression in his eyes when he was tied on the tree, watching me passed by quietly.

Though there was Qingwen’s misery, I was too young to understand the kind of misery he suffered. My life in Guo’s family overall was happy, everyday so many fun things to play with. It was later, after I had similar experience, after I acknowledged what child abuse was, how it would traumatize one’s life, I started thinking Qingwen again, started imagining what kind of horror he lived with daily.

Qingwen was not at all an unusual case in China. Regardless my own experience, many of my friends and schoolmates were severely abused. For example, one of my high school friends was often threatened to be “thrown out” from family, often got beaten with no reasons, and once was almost strangled to death by her mother; one of my classmate in elementary school was not only beaten by his father often, but also “treated” by pliers (how his father used this device we could only imagine); in the school my parents taught (where I grew up), one of professors tied his son and hung him up, then beat him. However, all these cases, include Qingwen’s, would be considered as “merciful” if compared with the one that happened in 90s of last century – which was only less than 20 years ago – in Qing Hai province, a girl whose name was Su Li, was tortured by her own mother for years (beyond any sane human beings can imagine) until her young life could not bare any more. She died at age of six.

I often don’t understand why so many Chinese people are so “unfamiliar” with the terms and behaviors of “child abuse”, as if this kind of crime is some “particular production” of Western society (a Chinese lady I know literally told me so), just because they “invented” this term. Are they blind? Or they are just numb about life, don’t think children could feel? I personally would say, with just a little exaggeration, that the entire history of Chinese morality is a history of child abuse. Sounds extreme, right? If you think so, you may be interested in reading “24 Filial Piety examples”, or1994 the fire accident in Karamay, Xingjiang province. Yes, in the past and present history of China, children have been something “spendable”, for some “higher moral purpose”, or for any purposes.

LuXun in the 1930
LuXun in the 1930 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After I entered middle age, I wrote lots of essays (in Chinese) about child abuse in China, about how it is connected with Chinese tradition, especially “filial piety”. But writing this short post, I do not mean to do the same kind of “rational thinking”, rather, I want to have an emotional touch on my far lost memory, to remind myself, and hopefully others, that this kind of experience, though better be forgotten by its sufferers, should never be forgotten by society, because only when a society recognizes the existences of such abuses, defines them as crimes, it can start rebuilding a new environment for children to grow healthily.

I am not a racist, nor a nationalist, but I would still like to dedicate this post to Chinese children, because they have been suffering too much for too long, and their suffering has been always overlooked, covered up, forgotten, even justified by so called “cultural tradition”.

Remember Qingwen, remember Su Li, “Save the children!” (Lu Xun)

*1994, in Xingjiang province

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