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March 3, 2011

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Help for tattooed beggar boy

A 12-YEAR-OLD boy tattooed by a beggar boss to stop him running away is receiving treatment in the city to remove the disfigurement.

Wang Xijing, from Zhoukou City in central China's Henan Province, was yesterday examined at Shanghai Huamei Plastic Surgery Hospital.

It plans to remove the tattoo on Wang's back without charge and provide psychological therapy.

The boy was rented out by his disabled father to learn acrobatics at the age of eight.

In the years that followed, Wang was sold between different acrobat troupes and forced to perform on the street and beg for money.

He was beaten on the head, face and body if he failed to bring in enough cash. Wang told reporters that on an average day he would receive more beatings than meals.

One boss crudely tattooed a butterfly and four Chinese characters on the boy's back, using a cigarette and sewing needle and without any anaesthetic.

The four characters "Jing Zhong Bao Guo" - which translate as "Repay the Country with Supreme Loyalty" - are said to have been tattooed on the back of 12th century Chinese general Yue Fei by his mother.

Yue has been revered as an epitome of loyalty.

The prominent tattoo caused the boy severe psychological trauma, officials from Shanghai Huamei said.

It also made him reluctant to run away as other people would see his disfigurement.

Wang was rescued by police in Sanya, Hainan Province, recently and returned to his hometown.

"We are shocked by the boy's injuries, especially the tattoos," said Liao Yuhua, president of Shanghai Huamei.

"We hope that removing the tattoos can reduce his suffering."

Wang is the second child beggar receiving charity medical care in Shanghai.

Last Friday, eight-year-old Ren Fangfang, also from the central China city, underwent plastic surgery on her nose, ears and scalp at Shanghai Time Plastic Surgery Hospital. A beggar boss cut off parts of her tongue and ears, ripped out her hair and forced her to eat dirt for not meeting begging targets.

"The girl is recovering very well," said Liu Qi, an official at Shanghai Time.


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