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ZGBriefs The Weeks Top Picks, May 22 Issue

Two of our favorite stories this week are about those on the margins of Chinese societythe poor who struggle to care for sick babies, and the disabled who are shut out of the educational system. The third article is an interesting look at how a the propaganda office in a neighborhood in Qingdao is trying to tackle the problem of "evil cults."

Caring for sick babies: The dilemma facing China's poor (May 18, 2014, BBC)

BBC reporter Celia Hatton describes the plight of a family in Guangdong province who give birth to a baby with serious medical needs. With no money to pay, they make the difficult decision to take her to a "baby hatch" to abandon her in hopes that she will be cared for.

With no money and no government healthcare, this couple faced a heart-wrenching choice: hold on to their daughter or hand her over to the state wherein theoryshe would receive treatment.

"No-one wants to abandon their child," Miaomiao's father, Lei Zebao says. "But if we gave her away, at least she would have a slim chance at life."

They decided to take her to a "safe baby hatch" not far from their home. In January, the hatch opened beside the local orphanage, offering parents a place to anonymously abandon children they couldn't care for.

On the evening of 16 March, the couple wrapped their daughter in blankets and travelled to the orphanage gates.

Fate intervened. Overwhelmed with sick children, the baby hatch had stopped accepting new babies hours before the family arrived. Miaomiao stayed in her mother's arms.

Hatton goes on to describe in more detail the plight of families like this one and some of the things being done to address the problem.

In Chinese Schools, Disabled Get Shortchanged (May 18, 2014, The New York Times)

For those living in the West or other countries that have in place laws to guarantee the rights of the disabled, it is quite shocking to learn that the disabled are practically shut out of the educational system in China. Lara Farrar explains the situation:

China has approximately 85 million people with disabilities, according to the United Nations. Experts in the field, including professors of special education, human-rights officials and lawyers representing the disabled, say that the Chinese government, despite some progress, is not doing enough to ensure that people with disabilities have equitable access to higher education or really any education at all.

At the end of 2012, more than 90,000 disabled children had no access to schooling, according to the China Disabled Persons' Federation, a quasi- government organization. Between 2008 and 2012, only 35,000 disabled people were enrolled in mainstream higher-education institutions, the organization said. To put that in context, nearly seven million people graduated from college in China in 2013 alone.

Those are some staggering statistics!

Propaganda Fight 2: neighbourhood posters directly address cult-stamped money (May 20, 2014, China Hope Live)

Blogger Joel frequently writes about his neighborhood in Qingdao. This week he shares with us some of the various propaganda campaigns being deployed in the fight against 'evil cults:'

In Qingdao, China it's not uncommon to find anti-Party messages stamped on our money. I have a collection going. They're created by a huge home-grown Chinese religious group that the Chinese government officially designated an "evil cult" in the late-90s. Here's the most recent one I've received:

New anti-cult posters continue to go up on our neighbourhood's Anti-Evil Cult Warning & Education Propaganda Board (all of them anti-FLG or anti-Almighty God/Eastern Lightning). Normally they're simple and illustrated, like this one currently posted beside a copy of the Alarm Bell News (a publication for "upholding science and opposing evil cults" by the Guarding Against and Dealing With the Evil Cult Problem Office):

The rest of the post includes detailed translation of some of the posters, offering an interesting window into the role of propaganda in a local neighborhood.

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ChinaSource Team

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