Death By Default

A Policy of Fatal Neglect in China’s State Orphanages

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China’s claim to guarantee the “right to subsistence” conceals a secret world of starvation, disease, and unnatural death a world into which thousands of Chinese citizens disappear each year. The victims are neither the political activists nor the religious dissidents who dominate the international debate over human rights in the People’s Republic; they are orphans and abandoned children in custodial institutions run by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs. This report documents the pattern of cruelty, abuse, and malign neglect which has dominated child welfare work in China since the early 1950s, and which now constitutes one of the country’s gravest human rights problems.
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