Amid concerns about childrens’ safety due to recent traffic accidents involving children and knife attack at a primary school, the BBC reports a fire at an orphanage in Henan has left seven children dead:
Four children died at the scene in Lankao county and three died on the way to hospital, Xinhua news agency said.
One other child, aged about 10, is being treated in hospital. The cause of the fire is not yet clear.
Local residents say that a woman named as Yuan Lihai had used the house to shelter orphans and abandoned children.
It remained unclear how many children were in the house at the time.
According to AP, the fire occurred at an illegal shelter run by Yuan, who took in and cared for 18 abandoned children and young adults:
“There is a direct relationship between today’s situation and the fact that some related government departments failed to enforce supervision and loosened management on purpose,” deputy county governor Wu Changsheng said at a Saturday press conference as quoted by the news report. “They should shoulder responsibility, and that’s a loophole in our work.”
Wu also told reporters that the local government had provided some assistance to Yuan to help her care for the children.
The deaths have spotlighted China’s lack of government-run child services, which have often been left to private citizens with few resources and no legal authority. It is unclear whether Yuan would be punished.
On China’s social media, the public have shown overwhelming sympathy toward Yuan. A Saturday editorial by the official Xinhua News Agency blamed the local government’s inaction and media — who had previously praised Yuan’s actions — for the tragedy.
Although some netizens and officials have expressed sympathy for Yuan, others have accused Yuan of using the children to make money,
« Back to Article