China's Hidden Children

The Chinese mothers fighting to reunite with their abducted children

China's Hidden Children Every year in China, an estimated 80,000 children are kidnapped by a parent. In the majority of cases, the father is the perpetrator - with mothers left desperately trying to reunite with their children.
China is experiencing an epidemic of stolen children - single mothers across the nation waking up to silent households. Zeng Xinyi hasn't seen her son in four years: her ex-husband's family have kept him away after kidnapping him: 'I went to the court, and his relatives thought, 'if you make such a big deal out of it, we won’t let you see him'. It’s as if they saw my child as an object that they could use to take revenge on me'. Shao Changfang's son was also kidnapped after she separated from her husband: 'After he abducted our child, he created a situation where the child lives with him long-term. And that leads to him being granted custody'. So far, no Chinese court has accepted a case against a parent abducting a child, leaving women powerless to recover their children. Zhang Jing, a lawyer who specializes in marital law, explains that abductions are a simple way for men to gain custody of children, in an era when women are now more likely to gain custody through divorce proceedings: 'Traditionally, the woman can leave, but the child has to stay. The phenomenon of children being abducted and hidden is related to how society has changed in recent years. Women have more power'.

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