Who were the children who died in the Sichuan quake?

We may never know.

Update: Some great photos, “lest we forget.”

Update 2: While I’m putting up links, this story on the kidnapping of baby boys in rural China is absolutely a must-read.

The Discussion: 16 Comments

Great to hear the photo blogger say : I use only long-distance-lens to take photos. Now this site is becoming a tourism destination.

I do not hope you to commit suicide like the author of the Hungry Sudan Girl.

April 5, 2009 @ 10:12 pm | Comment

when exactly were these photos taken? recently?

if that’s the “progress” they’ve made in a year, that’s just downright depressing.

April 6, 2009 @ 5:08 am | Comment

Indeed – when exactly were the pictures taken? Recently, I suspect, simply because they capture the essence of despair so well and they haven’t been seen before.

The enormity of the challenge to repair the damage of the earthquake shouldn’t be underestimated, but it’s clear that our pals at Zhongnanhai have been displaying their usual distaste for truthful reporting.

April 6, 2009 @ 9:34 am | Comment

Lensovet and Stuart, resources for cleanup needed to be saved for Beijing, for the glorious Olympics. And now Shanghai will be having the glorious World Fair in 2010, so a bunch of shiny empty and ridiculously tall buildings need to be built for that. And while the military could have helped out with cleanup, they’ve had their hands full promoting harmony in Tibet.
The people of Beichuan can basically go f— themselves until at least 2011 after the World Fair, at which point everyone will have forgotten about them, and we can go back to focusing on the victims of the Nanjing Massacre, as we should!

April 6, 2009 @ 1:50 pm | Comment

Great comment, Kevin. Good to see you’re still in good form.

April 6, 2009 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

Kevin – you’re so right it hurts.

April 6, 2009 @ 2:13 pm | Comment

Regarding the thriving market for stolen boys – and girls (for orphanages to sell to gullible western purchasers) – I think what surprises me most is that Chinese women are not producing children strictly for sale.

Here is market, growing for years now, where people are willing to pay thousands of RMB for a girl, and tens of thousands for a boy. For many Chinese women, that would be quite good pay for nine months of pregnancy. The “production costs” are very low. No worries about the one child policy, a kid born strictly for sale need not ever be registered. I bet parents who want to buy a kid would actually prefer a young baby (easier to pass off as their own, better bonding, no language problems, etc). Problems with gov’t or police are probably unlikely, as this essentially victimless practice would reduce child theft. Besides, as the article points out, local cops don’t care about children of poor people anyway.

I’ve read of poor families selling off their kid to raise money, why aren’t more women getting in on this? Chinese are typically quick to spot and act on economic opportunity. I wonder why is this not happening?

April 6, 2009 @ 2:31 pm | Comment

What I find depressing is that the Police don’t seem to care about the abductions. Sure, I can understand it’s hard to find these people but why can’t they even be bothered to do their job?

Is this indicative of a wider problem that the Chinese Police just don’t care about the problems of the individual? Or is this about local enforcement issues?

In the UK every child seems to be precious. If there was even the allegation that the Police had this sort of attitude the public would flay them alive.

April 6, 2009 @ 7:19 pm | Comment

My favorite quote from that article about abducted children:

“Chen Shiqu, the director of the Office of Combating Human Trafficking, a two-year-old government agency based in Beijing, said the problem of stolen children was exaggerated. He said that, contrary to parent advocates and some news reports, the number of cases was on the decline, although he was unable to provide figures to back up that assertion. “Just say they are dropping by 10 percent a year,” he said. He added that if parents were unsatisfied with the police response, they should call 110, China’s equivalent of 911.”

“Just say they are dropping by ten percent a year”?!?!?!?!…yeah, that sounds good, 10% let’s run with that. I hope this was a misquote. Otherwise, it’s very revealing of the problem…i.e. in a top-down government bureaucrats work for the good graces of their superiors who want to see statistics like this drop…whether they are really dropping or not makes no difference, as long as it makes the government look good. It’s why you can bet your life savings that China will record an 8% growth rate this year no matter what, when Grandpa Wen says it be so, it be so.

Although they get zero government support (not to add government antagonism), it was encouraging to read about the parents who have had this tragedy befall them and are creating a support network for families that have faced similar tragedies, this is the type of grassroots initiatives this country needs more of, unfortunately, the political environment here stifles these type of organizations for fear that its precedent might see the rise of other organizations not so friendly to the status quo. All opportunities for “public service” must thus be associated with the Party or be treated as enemies of the state.

April 6, 2009 @ 9:24 pm | Comment

stuart, lensovet, kevinnolongerinpudong,

the old beichuan was abandoned due to geological problems and the ruins was to be turned into a seismic museum. The new town is located in the near by plain and is still under construction. Please read the article below if you can.

I don’t mind your criticism of current 朝廷, but at least get the facts straight out before your next self righteous rant. It just makes you look dumb even in the eyes of the Chinese 粪青

2009-04-02 15:37:00 来源: 新民晚报(上海) 跟帖 0 条 手机看新闻
(本文来源:新民晚报 )

April 6, 2009 @ 10:45 pm | Comment


so a bunch of shiny empty and ridiculously tall buildings need to be built for that.

It would be so much easier if they put these buildings on rails so they could be reused. Disposable buildings are so wasteful. Remember the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

That was quite a topical leap from Children in Beichuan to baby making for profit. Chinese women can’t just pump them out because there is a quota for fertility all over China, called Jiyua Shengyu. You need to wait your turn in your danwei to conceive, or there are severe finanncial and other repercussions at the work unit. Ditto for the farming areas. Work units who exceed their fertility quota get a penalty and therefore need to penalize the already fertilized. It is also still technically illegal to profit from trafficking humans. You would not want to be “made an example of” in China, as they’d probably kill you. Still, law in China is fluid.

April 7, 2009 @ 4:49 am | Comment

Speaking of quake…Chinasmack just did a great post today on the backlash about plans for a 2.3 billion yuan Sichuan Earthquake Museum…


April 7, 2009 @ 7:16 pm | Comment


If you’re running out of China-related topics to write about, then why not write a piece about how successful (or unsuccessful) American soft-power efforts have been with the Chinese? I mean, the US has spent big bucks training, educating, employing the Chinese and what do we have to show for it? I mean, have the Chinese become yellow Thomas Jeffersons, or Thomas Paines? Contrariwise, how many aged American Fulbright professors have “discovered China” and fallen head over heals for young Chinese girls?


April 7, 2009 @ 11:12 pm | Comment

@By Thang Long
“Contrariwise, how many aged American Fulbright professors have “discovered China” and fallen head over heals for young Chinese girls?”

That means Chinese are more effective bringing Americans to their own field.

Or maybe there is a problem with young American girls 😉

April 8, 2009 @ 6:13 pm | Comment

I responding on the topic of missing children. I believe all they got to do is
run a sting ( a community sting ) and catch the thieves in the act. I mean from the window of a car….give me a break. The sad part is that if they did run such a sting there would most likely be a mole who would be ready and waiting.

Tidea of using children for work is not a new one. In the case of an article( way earlier ) richard linked about how a factory was raided finding that a majority of young workers was dying, sick, injured and was piled atop each other like trash down a pit??…The article said over 200 people was found?

Thinking about that situation the number census for anything in China would allways be unreliable. Meaning no matter how many times applied for anything it would allways fail. I mean there is practically no class whatsoever to roll call from.

A sad thing it is indeed but the earth is a living being as well. The idea of building property on a fault line is uncool.

April 8, 2009 @ 9:35 pm | Comment

funny to see nuts piled on each other on false information, hilarious.

April 9, 2009 @ 8:15 am | Comment

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