Living with Dead Hearts

Please watch this documentary. It was filmed by an independent husband-and-wife team (the husband being a venerable laowai) and helps to shed light on a Chinese issue that rarely gets any attention: the tens of thousands of Chinese children who are kidnapped each year and their parents who have next to no hope of them ever being found.

One of the kidnapped children in this video is presumed to have been sold into slavery at an illegal brickyard. Anyone who has been to China knows that China is basically made up of bricks and tiles. The sidewalks are made of bricks. Paths are made of bricks. Shop floors are tiles. Their walls are tiles. The plaza outside them are tile-bricks. Apartments are tiled. The danxia national park we went to in Gansu had a lone road weaving through the entire park, made exclusively of bright red brick. Why? Because kidnapped slave children can produce a lot of bricks and tiles for really, really cheap. So cheap that developers can then pay migrant workers a meager salary to lay them wherever they want. The result looks uneven and shoddy, but bricks are abundant and cheap.

Recently, Chinese authorities caught a doctor who had been stealing newborns by telling the parents that their kid was disabled or ill and then selling them on the black market. It is one of the rare cases of actual government action against child traffickers.

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