Twenty-one die in a care center for vagrants

Society & Culture

Top society and culture news for March 21, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Huge Israeli delegation visits China."

Couple in love holding hands together on table in restaurant, close up

  • Autistic boy’s death one of many linked to squalid ‘care center’ in China / NYT (paywall)
    A care center for vagrants in Shaoguan, in southern China’s Guangdong Province, sparked an outburst of public anger on Monday following media reports of at least 21 deaths at the facility this year so far. One of the fatalities, a 15-year-old autistic boy, died of typhoid fever after being given filthy water and food. The Beijing News reported (in Chinese) that the boy was sent to the foster center last October after he wandered off from his father. He died two months later. Records from a nearby funeral home show that, during the 49 days from January 1 to February 18 this year, the care center delivered at least 20 other corpses. According to nearby villagers, the center is a “mysterious place” that used to be a detention center. Later on Monday, local officials announced that they had closed the facility in early March and had put four people under investigation, but the announcement didn’t confirm or dispute the estimated death toll. “This is not a place to offer assistance, but a place to kill people,” said an editorial (in Chinese) from the Beijing News. “We can’t let these poor people die without giving a sound reason.”
  • Chinese subway system to carry out checks amid fears over faulty cabling / SCMP
    The vice-mayor of Xi’an publicly apologized on Monday after the city’s subway system failed to pass quality inspections, and eight people were detained on suspicion of supplying substandard cabling. The initial inspections were triggered by a whistleblower, who claimed to be a former employee from the company that provided cable materials. In a widely shared online post (in Chinese) titled “Do you dare to take the Xi’an subway anymore?,” the whistleblower accused the firm of lowering the quality of cable supplies to reduce costs. The company, Aokai, responded with an announcement calling the accusation groundless. However, in face of growing public pressure to investigate the problem, the local government inspected the faulty cables and vowed to look further into any possible collusion between the company and officials.