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February 23, 2011

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Help for mutilated beggar girl

AN eight-year-old girl rescued from street performers arrived in Shanghai yesterday for surgery on mutilating injuries inflicted by the group's leader.

The child, Ren Fangfang, was accompanied by her father for treatment on her nose, mouth and ears.

Earlier, she told how the street performers' boss cut off parts of her tongue, ears and mouth, tore out her fingernails, ripped out her hair and forced her to eat dirt as punishment for not meeting her begging target.

Today, doctors from Shanghai Time Plastic Surgery Hospital will examine Ren, a Henan Province native, and draw up a schedule to deal with the physical and psychological trauma she suffered.

"She also has a curved spine which we believe was caused by beatings. As doctors, we are shocked by her injuries," said Jiang Shan, president of the hospital, which has promised charity treatment.

"We will remove the scars left by the injuries and transplant hair to cover where it was pulled out. Psychological help will also be arranged."

Ren's parents agreed to allow her to join a circus run by Zhai Xuefeng three years ago, as Zhai, a relative, promised to take good care of the girl. In return, the family received 5,000 yuan (US$761) as "rent" for Ren.

However, Ren was forced to perform as a street acrobat and was tortured and beaten. Zhai is under police investigation and children from his group have been escorted home.


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