a story that makes you wonder

October 9th, 2008

I’m not sure I really want to translate this. It’s not really my kind of story, but there’s something about it…. Ah, what the hell, might was well. 新京报/The Beijing News’ Zhan Minghui reports on a young Henan mother who has set up camp in the foyer of Chaoyang Hospital’s emergency department:


Woman with a baby stays in hospital overnight

Yeah, the headline doesn’t raise any eyebrows, does it? But continue:


Up to last night, the Henan woman Wang Shanshan had already stayed in the foyer of Chaoyang Hospital’s emergency department for four days with her 40-something day old newborn daughter. She claimed to have been brutally beaten by her husband over a long period, and so had left home. Currently her life is difficult. These few days, many kind-hearted people have helped her, even expressing their wish to adopt the baby.


Woman carries a ruined photo to complain


Last night, on a seat in the foyer of Chaoyang Hospital’s emergency department, a woman carrying a baby was surrounded by a crowd of people. According to her identity card and marriage certificate, she is called Wang Shanshan, 27 years old, from the Henan countryside, married to her husband Mr Zeng for almost one year. This reporter saw that her husband’s face in the photograph in the marriage certificate had been blackened-out with a ballpoint pen.

“怀孕七个月时丈夫就嚷着不要孩子,还总当着老人的面打我,最后把我赶了出去。”王姗姗一边向记者出示自己被打后的照片一边说,40多 天前,她在老家的诊所内生下女儿,尚未取名,在娘家休养期间,她偷偷带女儿离开。因曾在顺义打过工,王姗姗带着女儿来到了北京。无亲无故的她们只好选择朝 阳医院急诊大厅落脚。据医院保安与服务人员等证实,王姗姗已在急诊大厅逗留了4天。

“When I was seven months pregnant, my husband shouted that he didn’t want the child, and always beat me in front of the old people, finally threw me out,” Wang Shanshan told this reporter as she showed a photo of herself after she’d been beaten. Over 40 days ago she gave birth to her daughter at a clinic in her hometown, who she still hasn’t named. When she was recuperating at her mother’s house, she secretly took her daughter and left. Because she had worked in Shunyi [note: a district of Beijing], Wang Shanshan brought her daughter to Beijing. With no relatives or friends in Beijing, they could only choose the foyer of Chaoyang Hospital’s emergency department to stay. Security guards and service staff at the hospital confirmed that Wang Shanshan had stayed in the emergency department’s foyer for four days.


But when this reporter asked for her husband’s contact details, Wang Shanshan said an area code then suddenly shut her mouth, saying she “can’t remember.”


Lookers-on suggest adopting the baby


At about 8 yesterday evening, a few dozen onlookers gathered around Wang Shanshan listening to her story. During this time, kind-hearted people constantly came to give her things like milk powder, cotton-padded clothing, disposable nappies [diapers]. “I’ve spent all my money, I don’t know how I’m going to raise this child.” After learning of Wang Shanshan’s plight, four families have come forward to express their desire to adopt her daughter.


Up until 10 last night, Wang Shanshan was still considering whether or not to giver her child away. Soon after, this reporter managed to contact her father by telephone. Mr Wang confirmed that his daughter really had been brutally beaten after her marriage, but this situation is very common in that area, so the family had not reported it to the police. “I didn’t know she’d gone to Beijing. Send her back in a couple of days.”


At 10:30 last night, this reporter reported the situation to the Chaoyang District Aid Station. The case is currently being processed.

Reading things like “this situation [domestic violence] is very common in that area” makes my heart bleed just a little more, especially when it’s followed up with “so we didn’t call the police”. It may be common, but it shouldn’t be, and doesn’t need to be.

Well, I doubt we’ll hear much more about Wang Shanshan and her daughter, but I hope that some good comes out of this, for both mother and child.

Oh, and if you want to help, I suggest you contact either the Chaoyang District Aid Station or the reporter Zhan Minghui at The Beijing News, or perhaps stop by Chaoyang Hospital to see if Wang Shanshan is still in the emergency department foyer.

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