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Child beggars healed of wounds in Shanghai

TWO child beggars, rescued by police in Hainan Province last month and brought to Shanghai for medical treatment, are both recovering well and will be discharged tomorrow, hospital officials said.

Both children are from inland Henan Province and were rented by their impoverished families to professional beggars who forced them to perform on the street and beg for money. If they failed to meet their daily quota, they would get beaten up.

Ren Fangfang, eight, suffered lacerations in her nose, ears and scalp – savage punishment by her boss. Yesterday she had stitches removed from her wounds.

Jiang Shan, president of Shanghai Time Plastic Surgery Hospital, said psychological therapy is also proving effective and the young girl is becoming happier and more reponsive. "She will be released this weekend," he said.

Some local residents, moved by Ren's miserable experience, promised to cover Ren's education and other living costs.

"I want to go to school and come back to Shanghai to work in the future," Ren said.

Her father, Ren Shangtian, expressed his gratitude to the hospital and Shanghai people, promising he would never give the girl away no matter how hard life is.

Three years ago he rented Ren to a street circus and received 5,000 yuan (US$761) as rent.

The 12-year-old boy, Wang Xijing, had tattoos removed from his back at the Shanghai Huamei Plastic Surgery Hospital. The tattoos were made forcibly by his boss to prevent him from running away.

He received laser treatment and most the tattoos were gone.

"He will come back in three months for another treatment to remove the rest," said Liao Yuhua, the hospital president.

Wang was rented by his disabled father to a street circus at the age of eight. In addition to frequent torture, he was tattooed with a pattern of butterfly and four Chinese characters on the back.

Hospital officials said it was cruel to make tattoos on the boy, inflicting both pain and humiliation on him.


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