From December 14th to 15th, Huijiawang (Reunion Network) organized the First Chinese Citizens’ Anti-Trafficking Discussion and Conference. Over twenty representatives of parental organizations in search of kidnapped children came to Henan from Henan, Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi, Hubei, Zhejiang, Guizhou, Guangdong provinces. This conference was held before Huijiawang’s North China child rescue tour. The agenda of the conference consisted of three topics. The first was the discussion on the legal problems of citizens’ activities in looking for trafficked children. The second was the exchange of information of search and reunion activities. The third dealt with future steps and activities in search of lost children.
In the discussions of the legal issues, representatives expressed many concerns over the legality of civilian efforts in the search for lost children, the function of government and the rights and obligations of child-finding activities. Mr. Jiang Tianyong, an attorney from the Beijing Gaobolonghua Legal office, gave advice on each question. On the role of government, Mr. Jiang opined that the kidnapping of a child was at least partially the government’s responsibility due to failings of public safety. The government should take that responsibility seriously instead of treating petitioning parents as socially undesirable destabilizing elements. The parents did not have political aspirations. Their aim was limited to urging the government to help find their missing children. The government should be more tolerant, to transfer the resources spent on monitoring the parental activists on the job of rescuing trafficked children, which was the only way to fundamentally solve the Beijing petitioning problem. Representatives resolved that under current political climate, in order to continue normal child-search activities, we should avoid extreme actions as much as possible. Future petitions would come in mostly written, rational form. It was the decision of the conference to express in writing the difficulties the parents searching for their children faced in China, hopefully soliciting more support and assistance from the government resulting in more and speedier return of missing children.
During the conference, representatives from various locales exchanged information. They introduced their experiences in search for their children and the lessons learnt in turn. The conference decided to strengthen future communications, aiming at more effective and efficient exchange of information and resources.
Conference attendees gave high praise to Huijiawang’s activities. They also gave many valuable suggestions. Some of the common ground reached during the conference were: to concentrate on Fujian, Guangdong provinces and the border regions of Henan, Hebei and Shandong provinces; to concentrate more on helping kidnapped children who were looking for their families; to produce more media that educated children, in order to assist parents who could not independently search for their trafficked offspring.
Photo: Front row from left: Jiang Tianyong, Tian Li, Su Changlan, Yao Cheng. Plus some of the representatives.