Article by WRIC Volunteer: Li Hui
Editor’s note: The Birth Planning Policy has been implemented for 30 years and has caused human tragedies unseen in history. Those hundred million newborn and stillborn innocent souls killed by this national policy cannot be forgotten. Among these souls are those that would have been grateful for being brought to this world, but were wiped out. For example, these adopted girls at the nunnery should have had a happy childhood and a warm family, but this kind of normal life was strangled by the widely evil national policy before even emerging. What a tragedy! Nowadays, the problem of ageing population has surfaced, the gender proportion of the population is unbalanced, and child trafficking is rampant. The government’s policy is the origin of all these disasters, but not only does the government refuse to aid, comfort and solve the difficulties of the victims, they do the opposite and block all news, prohibiting the outer world from learning the truth, and even use suppression and threats to obstruct social assistance.
In July, WRIC helped a young Taiwanese female photographer arrange for a visit to a nunnery that takes in abandoned babies. Unexpectedly, the photographer was repeatedly harassed by the local police and officials from various government departments. She became so frightened that she could only end her trip and escape from mainland China as quickly as possible. We feel very helpless and frustrated about this incident. It was the first time for this girl to visit Anhui, China. She had been dreaming about being close to her mother’s hometown and feeling the vibe of its ancient civilization, but now she has been intimidated by the officials and the police and had to run away. It is a sad sight. In regard to the political situation of Taiwan, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has said they were “one family” on the surface, but in practice, they exert all energy into squashing up the survival space of Taiwan. Taiwan citizens are chased around the world and beaten up by the CCP just because they are fighting for a pitifully small amount of dignity and rights. This girl just walked around freely for a few days in China, would the sky collapse then? Before she boarded the plane, when she was still in Taiwan and had not even set foot on the mainland, the CCP had already collected relevant information. From this, we can see how much “homework” the CCP did, and what resources they tapped on, all to stop a girl from visiting another girl.
About 2 months ago, Taiwanese girl Mian Man was chatting with WRIC Jing Zhang. Jing gave her an introduction on the nunneries in mainland China which adopted abandoned babies. This practice was brought about by the Birth Planning Policy. Some rural families abandoned newborn girls at monasteries to keep the birth quota for a boy. Before this practice, some people gave away their baby girls or even killed them. Eventually, some parents didn’t have the heart to do so since it was their blood and flesh, so they thought of nuns, who were full of compassion. The parents secretly placed the newborn girls in front of the monasteries, hoping that the kind Buddhists could help keep the babies alive. The nuns did adopt the babies, since Buddhist doctrine specifies helping the wounded and dead, so they can’t leave someone who is about to die. Secondly, nuns cannot marry and have children, so they consider about their future and prefer to have disciples and someone to take care of them when they get old. Surprisingly, this act attracted a large amount of abandoned babies, all of which were girls.
After listening to Jing Zhang introduction, Mian Mian had a deep interest in the topic and wanted to go to see it herself, hoping that WRIC could contact the nunnery and assist. On one hand, she was indeed a Chinese, and her mom was from Anhui, so she could search for her ancestors in the mainland and view this old, mysterious land to realize her dreams. On the other hand, as a photographer, it was rare in the contemporary world that nunneries would adopt a large number of abandoned girls, and this humanistic wonder was also original material that she wished to obtain to create her art.
Not long after, Yao Cheng from WRIC sent me a message asking if I could be the guide for this Taiwanese girl to visit a nunnery that adopted girls. To ensure that the visit would be successfully accomplished, he didn’t tell me which nunnery it was, where it was located, and who to contact, only telling me that the visit would be in mid-July.
Around 2013, I was a volunteer for WRIC and participated in projects to assist women and children. It was especially because I took part in advocating for the right to education for Anni Zhang that I was detained, summoned and blocked at the border many times by the police and Public Security Officers from places such as Hefei and Fuyang. I was even sentenced. When Yao Cheng was working on this project in the mainland, I had already learned about the situation of these nunnery girls and wanted to visit these poor children. I was busy dealing with some matters before this, but now I had a chance, so I was more than glad to go.
In the morning on July 17, Yao Cheng told me that the Taiwanese girl would arrive in Shanghai two days after (19th) and would take the high-speed rail to Hefei, so I should pick her up at South Hefei station on the 19th and take her to our destination: Linjiang Nunnery along the north shore of the Yangtze River in Fuxing Town, Susong County, Anhui Province.
In the early morning of the 19th, I was already on my way to Hefei. Not long after I arrived at South Heifei station (at around 10am), I received a message from Yao Cheng that Susong County Bureau of Religious Affairs and the Fuxing Town police both called Linjiang Nunnery. At first, they asked if a Taiwan reporter was coming there, then warned them that they could not meet with her. Shi Hongwen, a girl from the nunnery replied that she never heard that any a Taiwan reporter was coming. (At that time, due to a flight delay, the Taiwanese girl hadn’t even crossed the Chinese border. I really admire the level of monitoring of the Public Security Bureau. Although we used chatting software from foreign countries and used a new cell phone number, the resourceful cyber police, penetrating every corner, had immediately monitored the content of our conversation and had preparation plan ahead of time). Due to the flight delay, it was already 8pm when I picked her up. We could only stay in Hefei for the night.