Chinese government seeks to head off outrage over human trafficking | #childabductors


For months, the Chinese government has been trying to contain widespread anger over human trafficking. The issue erupted at the end of January, when a woman’s plight in Feng County of Xuzhou, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, sparked social media attention.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Premier Li Keqiang vote during the closing session of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Friday, March 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Sam McNeil)

At a State Council meeting on March 29, Premier Li Keqiang declared: “Trafficking and trafficking in people is harmful and must be brought to justice as soon as possible, and officials who neglect their duties must be severely punished.”

This was Li’s third statement on human trafficking in a month. The Chinese police earlier also announced an anti-trafficking operation, to continue until the end of the year.

In January, a video began circulating on the Chinese internet, showing a middle-aged woman wearing thin clothes, locked in a dilapidated house with a long iron chain around her neck. The video was released by a social work volunteer, and although it was not explicitly stated, online public opinion quickly pointed out that the woman was likely to have been abducted.

The video garnered nearly 2 billion views on social media, causing much online discussion. Local officials issued several inconsistent announcements, which only further aroused doubts and concern.

With China’s news media heavily censored, people had to dig into the story for themselves and constantly questioned the official statements.

On February 17, at the instigation of the central government, Jiangsu Province established an investigation, which issued a series of five notices, some correcting earlier ones, finally admitting that the woman was a victim of human trafficking.

The authorities said the woman, known as Yang Qingxia, had been trafficked out of the southwestern province of Yunnan in 1997 and sold twice by human traffickers in Feng County.



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