'RETURN TO THE DYING ROOMS'

 

YOU CAN NOW WATCH THE VIDEO AT:

http://www.channel4.com/fourdocs/archive/the_dying_room_player.html

(As appeared on Oprah, 2004)

 

The transcript from the 1995 BBC television documentary

Those infants who were about one year old, or even younger,

were tied to beds at night. Once, an infant's fingers and

hand were eaten by rats.

So you can see how those children suffered.

 

  

 

Brian VO
This is China's showcase children's institute - The Shanghai orphanage. Visitors are encouraged, not least to show how much China cares for its abandoned children. However, this films reveals a pattern of severe abuse and fatal neglect in its recent past.

 

Doc Zhang IN CHINESE
Those infants who were about one year old, or even younger, were tied to beds at night. Once, an infant's fingers and hand were eaten by rats. So you can see how those children suffered.

 

Robin (Human Rights Watch)
The severe degree of neglect, abuse, extending sometimes to outright torture by staff is well documented. Dr Zhang brought out official records of government. We also have numerous audio tapes narrated in full by the victims themselves.

 

Rory Mungoven (Amnesty International)
The pattern of evidence available to us on ill treatment in state run children's institute is sketchy, but the Shanghai case is the best documented so far.

 

Danny Smith (Jubilee Campaign)
What's new and startling is that in this orphanage at least it appears that institutionalised murder was practised over a period of time, that it was deliberate and it was sytematic.

 

Brian VO
The lengthy investigation carried out by Human Rights Watch includes a secret report that shows senior government officials, including a member of China's ruling Politburo, were fully aware of the high death rates and abuses in the orphanage and yet did almost nothing to help the children

 

Robin
This is now undeniable, it's a matter of official Chinese record in fact. Therefore the authorities will not be able to maintain that this is not a problem, it is undeniable.

At the same time as Human Rights Watch began their research into the Shanghai Orphanage, we were starting out on a journey across China to look into reports of Dying Rooms in the country's State orphanages. Allegations we repeatedly put to the Chinese Government, but on which they consistently refused to comment.

This film brings together the full story of our investigative journey and the revelations about the disturbing past of the Shanghai Orphanage.

 

Brian VO:
In early 1995 unconfirmed rumours were circulating of the existence of Dying Rooms in some of China's State Orphanages. Three of us set off to discover and document the truth.

 

Sync Peter:
I got X-rayed twice with the equipment, once...

 

Kate VO:
We entered China undercover as orphanage workers, each carrying parts of a secret camera that was only assembled once we were in the country.

 

Sync Peter:
It conceals very nicely in the bag, there's a little pinhole here.

 

Kate VO:
China is the world's third largest country, and supports almost a quarter of the world's population. According to the Chinese authorities there are around 40,000 orphanages across the country.

Our first destination inside China was the city of Wuhan, the capital of the central Chinese Province of Hubei, 650 miles to the south of Beijing.

 

 

Brian VO:
We headed for the main orphanage, knowing that any babies abandoned in the city or surrounding area would end up here.

We planned to shoot as much as possible with the hidden camera and only use our cover story if we were stopped. However women in white coats were on to us almost immediately - and we were taken to the Orphanage Director's office for questioing.

Eventually she accepted our cover and we were given the official visitor's tour.

 

Brian VO:
In early 1995 unconfirmed rumours were circulating of the existence of Dying Rooms in some of China's State Orphanages. Three of us set off to discover and document the truth.

 

Sync Peter:
I got X-rayed twice with the equipment, once...

 

Kate VO:
We entered China undercover as orphanage workers, each carrying parts of a secret camera that was only assembled once we were in the country.

 

Sync Peter:
It conceals very nicely in the bag, there's a little pinhole here.

 

Kate VO:
China is the world's third largest country, and supports almost a quarter of the world's population. According to the Chinese authorities there are around 40,000 orphanages across the country.

Our first destination inside China was the city of Wuhan, the capital of the central Chinese Province of Hubei, 650 miles to the south of Beijing.

 

Brian VO:
We headed for the main orphanage, knowing that any babies abandoned in the city or surrounding area would end up here.

We planned to shoot as much as possible with the hidden camera and only use our cover story if we were stopped. However women in white coats were on to us almost immediately - and we were taken to the Orphanage Director's office for questioing.

Eventually she accepted our cover and we were given the official visitor's tour.

 

Kate VO:
We witnessed the arrival of the orphanage's latest baby, a healthy girl only a few days old.

 

Sync Interpreter:
It says in here, that this is actually from the government and it says 1995 13th Febuary there's one baby was abandoned, we are not finding any information for it so we are now sending this baby to here.

 

Kate VO:
From now on she will be identified only by her luggage label. This gives her name, her approximate birth date and the day she was brought in.

 

Kate VO:
This was the best State orphanage we visited, even so the last time figures were officially published this province reported two deaths for every five babies admitted.

 

Robin Munro Human Rights Watch/Asia Hong Kong Director
We found In an officially published volume put out by the the Ministry of Civil Affairs in Beijing, the Civil Affairs Authorities are the ones responsible for running orphanages in China, um, a statistical yearbook for 1990 in which full details of the death rate in orphanages around China were included. Now what these show is that the death rate on average is almost 60% around the country.

 

Kate VO
The year these figures were compiled Fujian Province reported that their orphanages had one hundred and nine admissions and one hundred and nine deaths.

 

Brian VO:
Already there are more than 1.2 billion people living here, and across China 21 million babies are born every year, so there's a desperate need to control the population.

 

Jonathan Mirsky Times Newspaper Asia Editor
This is the largest population in the world on a very small quantity of land and the Chinese State has known for many years that if they didn't limit the population or reduce it that by the middle of the next millenium there would be a fight for food and general starvation.

 

Brian VO
The response of the Chinese Communist Party to this problem was to introduce in 1979 the One Child per Family Policy - a law which states that urban families can have no more than one child, and which has proved to be highly contentious around the world.

 

Mirsky
The American Congress keeps millions of dollars away from Chinese birth control programmes. The UN is very touchy about it. It gets raised all the time by official visitors to China. The Chinese state denies that it is a big problem. It is a red hot dangerous internationally sensitive matter.

 

Brian VO:
Under the One Child Policy, each time a woman wants to try for a baby she has to apply for a shengyu zheng a birth permit. Without such a permit any woman who becomes pregnant is likely to face pressure from her local cadre to abort.

 

Stephen Mosher
Author A Mother's Ordeal, In Vision:
In China we have credible reports of women being arrested for the crime of being pregnant, of women being locked up, incarcerated until they submit to an abortion, of women being aborted or sterilised during the course of other medical procedures without their foreknowledge or permission, of their husbands being arrested, or actually imprisoned until their wives submit to abortions, of, of babies being killed at birth by means of a lethal injection into the fontanelle, that is the soft spot of the child's skull, er,of homes actually being destroyed of couples who resist sterilisation or abortion. The list of human rights abuses is, in China's one child policy is, is very lengthy.

 

Kate VO:
A woman who already had one child when the police discovered she was pregnant without permission told us about her enforced abortion.

 

Interpreter: (Sub-titles)
The Government say enough. She wanted to have another one. She had a baby in her body for five months. But the police found him find this lady. They took her to hospital to take the baby out. They put medicine inside her so the baby died, it killed the baby. They took the baby out

 

Mainland Chinese Journalist
Subtitles:
I have talked to a woman who got pregnant for nine months already. She was found by the authorities. But the authority forced to take abortion at once. The baby took out was killed and the mother was sent back to her home but since she was in bad health condition after two days she died.

Lung VO then sync after a bit:
I have talked to a woman who got pregnant for nine months already. She was found by the authorities and she she said I have only about 5 days later I will born the baby. But the authority forced to take abortion at once. The baby took out was killed and the mother was sent back to her home but since she was in bad health condition after two days she died.

Brian VO
With China's population exceeding the 1.2 billion mark, the government knows that as well as its family planning programme, there is a further need to restrict the growth of the population.

Mosher
In February of 1995 the party general secretary himself Jiang Zemin made a speech in which he said that China's population was still increasing too rapidly he set a new goal for China's population of thirteen hundred million by the year 2000, What this means is tremendous coercion on women to submit to abortions and sterilizations and I think it also means that however over crowded China's orphanages are now with baby girls that that problem is likely to get worse very much worse, in the near future.

 

Kate VO
From Wuhan we traveled 600 miles West to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, a province roughly the size of France, with a population of over 100 million.

 

Kate VO:
Here we found toddlers tied to bamboo seats with their legs splayed over makeshift potties.

 Lung:
All girls of course, unless they are handicapped boys, but healthy boys is never abandoned, ever.

 

Kate VO:
We wanted to confirm the information we'd been given that it is overwhelmingly girls that are rejected, so we checked the gender of every baby we could.

 

Kate sync:
She's got three pieces of string around her body, across her chest across her middle and down by her feet. This is plastic, and then there's 2 layers of thick material in what's almost like a bodice around the body to keep her straight. And underneath it's very constricted, very tight, and she's very wet inside. It's another little girl.

 

Kate VO:
The government's one child policy dictates only the number of children a family may have, it says nothing about the preferred sex.

 

Lecturer/Researcher Asian Demography
Subtitles:-
The one child policy tended to not take Chinese traditional cultural son preference into consideration. Sons generally carry the family line, so obviously the son is more important than the daughter.

 

The Doc:
One Child Policy tend to not take Chinese traditional cultural son preferences into consideration. Sons generally carry the family line so eh obviously the son is more important than the daughter. Now each family in a sense is limit to only one child then the gender become a very important concern to each family.

 

Lung sync: (Subtitles)
The celebration between the boys and the girls are very different for example for the boys when they're born, there are fireworks but the girls never. The girls are called Lai Di or Jao Di, that means 'Boys come, come, come' and there are more than six million woman in China called Lai Di and Jao Di, so you can see the common belief of hoping of expecting a boys.

 

Mirsky
There is also the problem in China of the survival of the parents. When a girl marries as the Chinese say she marries out she disappears into her husbands family and her duty traditionally is to care for her parents in law. in the rural part of the country where 80% of the population live and there's no social security of any kind you're really looking starvation and misery in the face if you don't have a grown son and his wife to look after you when you're old.

 

Sub titles:-
Girl babies are called 'maggots in the rice' in the countryside because their families have to pay to bring them up and as soon as they get into their teens they marry and leave their family to join their husband's family.

 

VO Lung:
Girl babies are called maggots in the rice in the countryside because their families have to pay to bring them up and as soon as they get into their teens they marry and leave their family to join their husband's family.

 

Brian VO:
What the one child policy has meant is that in the game of birth roulette, you only get one chance to have a son.

In the rural areas where sons are especially prized the policy was relaxed in the 80's to allow a second child if the first baby is handicapped or a girl; however to benefit from this concession a woman still has to get a birth permit from her local cadre. With the pressure so high to keep the birth rates down, permits for a second child are often very difficult to come by, increasing the likelihood that unwanted daughters will simply disappear.


 

Mosher:
There's an increasing imbalance in the sex ratio in China. If you go into a Chinese village today you will see very many more little boys running around than girls. Where are the little girls? Have they been killed in utero? They've been killed after birth, or they've been abandoned and left to die on a road somewhere.

 

Lung Sync: (Subtitles)
Some of them maybe die of hunger. Some of them may be picked up by the gangs to become beggars in the street. Some of them may be lucky and sent to the orphanage.

 

Kate VO:
From Sichuan we traveled south to Nanning, the capital of Guangxi, a hundred or so miles from the border with Vietnam.

 

Kate VO:
Here we found only an adolescent girl in a white coat watching over the children. We were led into the babies room by a handicapped child - and the smell hit us first - sour milk, urine and unwashed bodies.

 

Voluntary orphanage worker Anna VO:
Contact with the child from as early on as possible is terribly important. I think everyone saw this in the Vietnam war when lots of babies were abandoned and left in these huge orphanages and just a bottle lying in a sort of a mechanical arm you know jabbed into their mouth, um the children just grew up totally lifeless because there was no nurturing, there was no physical contact.

 

Anna VO:
It's terribly important just to be held to be comforted from as early on as possible.

 

Anna Sync:
I have worked as a volunteer in different kinds of of orphanages and you can see how lifeless in some cases the children really are, because they just don't have that human contact. And its because I guess there's a, there's a shortage of man power and time, and resources and one person is left to care for far too many babies.

 

Robin
Orphanages in China maintain a sort of cast system between different types of orphans and so called orphans in the strict sense in Chinese law are those whose natural parents are in fact dead. They are the only inmates of the orphanages who strictly are recognized as orphans. Most of the children and infants in orphanages are abandoned children.

 

Robin
Ordinary Chinese couples if they have one child already are actually barred under the adoptions law from adopting an abandoned infant. What it means in practice is that there is very little chance that abandoned infants in China will ever be able to leave the orphanages.

 

Kate VO
Just alongside this corridor there was an orphanage pharmacy full of medicines - and yet this child's gangrene was being ignored.

 

Kate VO:
A white coat appeared in the courtyard, saw us and headed off in the direction of the admin block. We knew it was time to go.

 

Kate VO:
The Chinese government has a duty to control its population, but equally it has a duty to take care of the innocent victims of that control. So far we'd already witnessed disturbing levels of neglect in several orphanages and had been made dramatically aware of the influence of the state's one child policy and its tragic collision with China's age old preference for sons. But even more haunting images lay ahead of us.

 

Subtitles:
They come and say the baby has to die. They put a special medicine into the body so the baby dies. And when the baby's out they throw it away.

A woman is not important. She's just like a dress. If I like you today, I take you home. If I don't like you, I throw you away.

 

Kate VO:
As we continued our journey across China, the local people often confirmed the strict way that the population control policy is sometimes enforced.

 

Boatman:
Q: If a woman is just about to have her baby,
A: yes.
Q: ... and the authorities find her...
A: Aha.
Q: ... and know that she doesn't have permission. What do they do then? A: Ooh so the, they're come, and asking the baby die. They pour special medicine... into the body, the baby's died, so, and when the baby outside, just throw away. Woman is not important, woman just like to dress, I like you today, I take you home, if I don't like I take off, throw away

 

Mirsky
What we have is an extraordinary example of a cultural collision in which. What you have is the destruction of females at one end of society, at the young end, and the n the abduction, the kidnapping the obtaining of women at the other end in order that the men can have wives in order that those people can then have some more boy children.

 

Brian VO:
In the next decade, when the sons of the One Child Policy come of age, China will face a demographic disaster. As Shanghai's Wenhui Daily said 'By the end of the century, our country will have a great hoodlum army of 70 million single men'.

The Chinese government itself is now worried, and is trying hard to promote the equal values of boys and girls.

 

Kate VO:
At Huangshi Orphanage in Hubei province we found infants starved of the nutrients of warmth and affection. Unattended and bored, they spend their days tied together in a potty bench.

 

Kate VO:
With no stimulation other than the occasional thump from an older inmate one action they all have in common is a relentless rocking motion.

 

Kate VO:
This child arrived in a basket when he was only a few days old - since then he has known nothing else. Now totally institutionalized, with hands and feet tied - he sits in sodden trousers.

 

Brian VO:
While we were filming a local party official arrived, he had been told there were foreigners in the orphanage.

 

Subtitles
All the money we receive as donations we use properly. We have several projects, we allocate a certain amount of money to each project, whether the money is from the Chinese government or from donating charities. This was by far the most difficult moment we'd faced. Kate intercepted him before he saw us filming and via our interpreter, set out our story.

 

Kate VO:
We were expecting a cold and formal reception as we had walked in unannounced and with no official permission. Instead he completely accepted our cover and proudly showed us the orphanage's new dining hall, built with a grant from central government. Our hosts were keen to point out that more funds were needed to complete and furnish the building, an

d that any contributions would be gratefully received.

 

Director (sync) IN CHINESE
 

VO - Brian
Even with extra cash from the govt. and charities, they told us that there was very high turnover of staff and no formal training for the workers.

 

Mosher
You customarily find in orphanages nurseries with forty or fifty babies where there are on duty only a couple of people. Two individuals however industrious can't possibly care for that many infants and so neglect takes place as a matter of.

 

Sub-titles:
The celebration between the boys and the girls are very different for example for the boys when they're born, there are fireworks but the girls never. The girls are called Lai Di or Jao Di, that means 'Boys come, come, come' and there are more than six million woman in China called Lai Di and Jao Di, so you can see the common belief of hoping of expecting a boys.

 

Kate VO:
According to the orphanage director, 400 babies had been dumped here in the past year. Yet when we looked round we could see no more than a dozen. We asked an aid worker where the babies disappear to

 

Ling sync:
The celebration between the boys and the girls are very different for example for the boys when they're born, there are fireworks but the girls never. The girls are called Lai Di or Jao Di, that means 'Boys come, come, come' and there are more than six million woman in China called Lai Di and Jao Di, so you can see the common belief of hoping of expecting a boys.

 

Kate VO:
Most of last year's babies arrived in the steaming summer months when viruses spread quickly.

They ended up in this building.

With newborns five to a cot in temperatures of over a hundred degrees - one in every five died. The eighty or so lives that ended here in 1994 passed unnoticed, unremembered and unmourned.

 

Mosher:
The Chinese communist party has ultimate say over everything that happens in China, it could very easily improve conditions in China's orphanages by increasing funding and increasing staffing that it chooses not to do so is a tragedy for the Chinese people especially for these little baby girls, many of whom will not live to adulthood.

 

Brian VO:
So far every orphanage we'd seen had been funded and managed by the government. We'd found out that there are some privately run orphanages in China and we wanted to see if the conditions were the same.

 

Kate VO:
Things were very different. Here the local children looked into the courtyard with envy.

 

Kate VO:
This sanctuary survives solely on charitable donations that come almost entirely from within China.

 

Kate VO:
There appeared to be no more money here than at the state orphanages, it's the way things are run that's different. Each child is informally adopted by parents who are given rooms in the home so all the families live together under the same roof.

 

Kate VO:
The atmosphere was so welcoming that we stayed well into the night and joined the children for the lantern festival.

The so-called 'dying rooms' do not exist in China at all. Our investigations confirm that these reports are vicious fabrications. The contemptible lie about cannot but arouse the indignation of the Chinese people.
Official Chinese Statement

 

Brian VO:
The final stage of our journey across China took us to Zhaoqing, just outside Guangzhou, one of China's richest cities, less than two hours from the border with Hong Kong.

 

Kate VO:
At first we thought that only disabled children lived here, as we could neither see nor hear any babies.

 

Kate VO:
Then, from under one of the towels drying on a cot, we heard a cry.

 

Kate VO:
The staff told us that this baby's health was normal. In fact she was suffering from severe impetigo in her head, vitamin B&C deficiency, and acute liver failure.

 

Kate VO:
Whilst we were filming, we made a grim discovery. There was a room here where a baby girl had been left to die ten days earlier. The staff preferred not to enter the room, waiting instead for one of the other children to report the infant dead.

 

Kate sync:
Jesus God, look at this body, Oh God Peter.

 

Brian VO:
We asked her name and were told Mei Ming. This means - ‘no name'. It was the second time in her short life that she'd been abandoned.

 

Ling VO:
Feel so sad, it is so inhuman that I can't believe if this is a boy they would try to save him, but because she is a girl she is left to die, she is waiting to die.

 

Brian VO
Mei Ming gave up her fight for life four days after we filmed her.

Her parents had abandoned her - and when we telephoned offering our help, the orphanage at first denied she had ever existed.

 

Kate VO
The Chinese government sent a statement reacting to the facts revealed in the film. They denied the existence of Dying Rooms in China, and claimed our footage to be 'a vicious fabrication and a contemptible lie'.

 

Mosher:
The Chinese government is extremely sensitive to criticism from the west in all areas because of traditional Chinese considerations of face. So, now, er, the Chinese government refuses to admit that there are abuses in it's state run orphanages or in the one child policy as a whole because they're afraid of, of losing face

 

Brian VO
At the same time as we were secretly filming in central China, Human Rights Watch Asia was involved in a detailed and top secret investigation of the Shanghai Children's Welfare Institute, a showcase establishment that welcomes hundreds of visitors from around the world every year.

Dr Zhang Shuyun joined the senior staff of the Shanghai Orphanage in 1988. However she soon discovered that orphans were suffering brutal ill-treatment.

After a five year struggle to get help for the children from within Shanghai, she finally fled from China, carrying with her secret documents and photographs.

 

Robin Munro
Human Rights Watch/Asia Hong Kong Director

 

Dr Zhang Subtitles
I worked there for five years. The death rate went up every year. According to my investigation and analysis, the main reasons for death were illness, cold and deliberate starvation. The irresponsibility of employees and the chaotic management also contribute to the rising death rate.

 

Robin
Our involvement with Dr Zhang Shuyun began in late March when I met with her. What she told me during the course of that day frankly even after my fifteen or more years of my involvement in China Human Rights work shocked me, I was very disturbed with what I saw.

 

Dr Zhang (IN CHINESE)
I worked there for five years. The death rate went up every year. According to my investigation and analysis, the main reasons for death were illness, cold and deliberate starvation. The irresponsibility of employees and the chaotic management also contribute to the rising death rate.

According to officials, this orphanage has around 500 inmates. And despite the fact that Shanghai is arguably China's most prestigious orphanage, Human Rights Watch estimate that the total death rate in the late 80's and early 90's was as high as 9 out of 10

During this time few visitors were allowed inside the orphanage unless they had an official appointment. This left the orphans totally in the hands of the staff.

 

Subtitles
The orphans could be beaten up and abused at any time. The way they were beaten was very severe. Usually the legs of chairs were used, or very big sticks. They were beaten up all over, especially on their heads.

 

Dr Zhang (IN CHINESE)
The orphans could be beaten up and abused at any time. The way they were beaten was very severe. Usually the legs of chairs were used, or very big sticks. They were beaten up all over, especially on their heads.

 

Kate VO:
Other abuses included tortures developed during the Cultural Revolution - the motorcycle position and the airplane position. Children would be forced to stand in these positions for long periods and would be beaten if they moved.

 

Kate VO:
Ai Ming spent nineteen years in the Shanghai Orphanage. He was abandoned by his parents as an infant after suffering an attack of polio which left his legs partly disabled.

 

Subititles
You had to put your hands behind your back, keep your feet together. You were not allowed to move.

The caretakers wouls smack us on our faces, or make us stand in the aeroplane position. Sometimes we didn't get dinner.

 

Subtitles
Many older children have told me, when they were having a shower, they were picked up and turned upside down. Their heads were forced into a bucket full of water. Their noses and ears were then filled with water, which is horrible. They were choking. Some smaller children had bleeding noses. This is what the children fear most.

 

Ai Ming (IN CHINESE)
You had to put your hands behind your back, keep your feet together. You were not allowed to move.

Q: If you moved or disobeyed those rules what happened?

A: The caretakers would smack us on our faces, or make us stand in the aeroplane position. Sometimes we didn't get dinner.

 

Dr Zhang
Many older children have told me, when they were having a shower, they were picked up and turned upside down. Their heads were forced into a bucket full of water. Their noses and ears were then filled with water, which is horrible. They were choking. Some smaller children had bleeding noses. This is what the children fear most.

 

Brian VO:
Official records from this time show that of the children that died, four out of five were dead within a year of admission. Some of these children were deliberately selected to die by the staff in order to keep the number of inmates down to a certain level.

 

Robin I/V
Nursing staff would meet periodically and informally decide when there had been new admissions how they would lower the population within the ward, and they would identify individual children who'd as it were be slated for elimination. Henceforth they would be denied food and put on starvation rations, in some cases denied water and this process was known by the staff as 'jiudi jiejue' in Chinese which means 'Summary Resolution'.

 

Subtitles
Children who are ill, handicapped, who have difficulties in walking or need to be fed; or who have illnesses such as pneumonia, intestinal bleeding, vomitting; or are dirty or naughty, or just not good looking. irritate the caretakers. So three or four of them get together and decide that those children should be left for summary resolution.

 

Danny Smith
The Jubilee Campaign, Director Human Rights Pressure Group

 

Dr Zhang (IN CHINESE)
Children who are ill, handicapped, who have difficulties in walking or need to be fed; or who have illnesses such as pneumonia, intestinal bleeding, vomitting; or are dirty or naughty, or just not good looking. irritate the caretakers. So three or four of them get together and decide that those children should be left for summary resolution.

 

Danny
The allegations of summary resolution are totally shocking. It's one thing to say that nurses leave a child to die of neglect, to suggest that an orphanage had a deliberate policy of starving children to death is just profoundly shocking.

 

Robin
The process of gradual starvation is just about the most painful and distressing that they could adopt. However by doing it that way what you find is that it provides a basis on which they can then maintain that these are natural deaths.

It wasn't our fault.

 

Subtitles
To stop these children screaming of hunger and thirst, they either tie them to the bed so they can't move, or they give them huge amounts of sleeping pills or inject them with sedatives. This way they are unconscious and can be slowly left to die.

 

Subtitles
They're very thin. They have been left inside for a while, for several days. Their bodies are full of insects. Some of the children are covered with pus all over their bodies. Some of them are without clothes, completely naked

 

 Dr Zhang (IN CHINESE)
To stop these children screaming of hunger and thirst, they either tie them to the bed so they can't move, or they give them huge amounts of sleeping pills or inject them with sedatives. This way they are unconscious and can be slowly left to die.

 

Brian VO
The medical records of children targeted for Summary Resolution set out their decline in meticulous detail. As weeks pass the doctors record the reduction in their body weight together with the diagnoses of 1st, 2nd and finally 3rd degree malnutrition.

 

VO
Ai Ming saw many victims of Summary Resolution at the orphanage.

 

Ai Ming (IN CHINESE)
They're very thin. They have been left inside for a while, for several days. Their bodies are full of insects. Some of the children are covered with pus all over their bodies. Some of them are without clothes, completely naked.

 

Brian V/O
Ai Ming took photographs of some of those sentenced to Summary resolution. Jian Xun was a deaf/mute. His medical records show that when he was admitted he was healthy. After several years in the care of the orphanage, his records show he died of malnutrition. During the last twelve days of his life he received no medication or pain relief.

 

Robin
We showed these photographs that Ai Ming took in 1992 to a professor of paediatrics from American University his immediate reaction was these children had died of malnutrition and dehydration. His comment was if they're going to eliminate these children why don't they do it humanly. Why don't they just terminate them in some way when they bring them in.

 

VO
By the early 90's rumours about the orphanages regime had reached the highest levels in Shanghai. A series of inquiries were set up. One government team recorded an extensive list of the abuses they personally witnessed.

 

Robin
The bureau's supervision investigation team personally witnessed more than a dozen young children tied to potty chairs in mid winter temperatures wearing thin cotton pants. The result was that within a several day period, nine of those children died.

Another report, marked as a state secret, confirms extensive abuses in the orphanage and calls for immediate action. It was circulated to a few very senior officials in Shanghai.

First on the list is Wu Bang Guo, Shanghai's Communist Party Secretary at the time.

Wu Bang Guo was made a vice premier of China in 1995. A protege of China's president, he is a member of the Shanghai Faction, currently dominating the Politburo.

Following the investigation, there was some change in the management, but mortality rates are still around 50%, and a ban on critical media coverage of the orphanage still exists. Also the contrasting treatment of the Doctors group and those in charge at the orphanage will hardly encourage others to speak out.

 

Robin
No-one was punished, no-one has ever been punished for any of these horrendous calculated abuses at the Shanghai Children's Welfare Institute. To the contrary those most directly responsible including the former director have been promoted.

 

 

Brian VO

 

Han Weicheng, the man in charge of the orphanage throughout this period, is now head of Social Welfare for the whole of Shanghai.

Dr Zhang is now living in exile, the price for blowing the whistle in China.

 

Subtitles
We never expected that after five years of appeals, we would all have been sacked or forced to resign and change our jobs. Those who were responsible for abusing orphans have been promoted, some have even become heads of government departments. After five years this was the result of all our efforts. Devastating.

 

Doctor (IN CHINESE)
We never expected that after five years of appeals, we would all have been sacked or forced to resign and change our jobs. Those who were responsible for abusing orphans have been promoted, some have even become heads of government departments. After five years this was the result of all our efforts. Devastating.

 

Danny
It's not surprising that this was covered up. Politics in China, probably politics anywhere in the word is about personal power. And tragedy is that the fate of a few orphan children isn't high on people's priorities.Brian VO Since we entered China a year ago, 20 million babies have been born. The State has to control population growth; but it also has a duty to look after the thousands of babies who end up in its care. Few people in China dare question the fate of the unwanted ones, for most it is too great a risk.

 

Robin
The Hope has to be that international pressure will force the government to carry out a root and branch reform in the entire orphanage system

 

Rory Amnesty International Director - Asia/Pacific
If this evidence reflects a broader pattern then clearly we are talking about an area of darkness in Chinese Institutional Life. It's encumbent that they shed light on this area, that they investigate it in an open and systematic way and take action to remedy this matter.

 

Mirsky
The only way that foreigners can improve the condition of females in China and of orphans in general is to know about this. The Chinese are great violators of human rights, we all know about their gulags, the number of political prisoners, the number of executions. In fact we're talking about a much larger number of people, ie the females in China. Now these people are culturally and in other ways deprived of their human rights. So this has to be raised with the Chinese State, just as actively as your favourite political prisoner.

 

Production Manager JEREMY WALES
Research DOMINIC AUHILL, DAVID CHAPPELL
Offline Editor DAWN GRIFFITHS
Online Editor MARK MANNING
Dubbing Mixer NIGEL GLYNN DAVIES
Music STEVE COOKE, RUSSELL TAYLOR
Camera PETER HUGH, BRIAN WOODS
Produced & Directed by KATE BLEWETT & BRIAN WOODS

©Copyright: TRUE VISION PRODUCTIONS


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