Chinese state media report five children have died after being found suffocated in Guizhou Province. This comes amid concerns for child safety after five homeless boys were found dead inside a garbage bin in the same province as well as an illegal orphanage fire that left several children dead in Henan, from Xinhua:
The five children, all male and with ages ranging from four to six, were discovered by local villagers in Majiang county at 5:40 pm.
Four of the boys were dead upon being discovered, while the fifth died in the hospital, the county publicity department said.
The children come from five different families. Their parents were helping out at a wedding dinner held for one of their fellow villagers and had apparently left them unattended.
An initial investigation showed that the children died due to suffocation after straw in the abandoned house was ignited.
The deaths Monday in the southwestern province of Guizhou focused attention on the welfare of children in one of China’s poorest regions.
Three months ago, five runaway boys in the same province died inside a garbage bin, where they lit a fire to stay warm on a cold, damp night in the city of Bijie. Media reports said those boys were largely unsupervised because their parents had sought work in more prosperous parts of the country, and the incident prompted nationwide soul-searching on China’s wealth gap and the effects of its economic boom on families in rural areas.
State-run China Central Television said the government gave each of the five families 22,000 yuan ($3,500) and 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of rice as consolation.
According to the South China Morning Post, the villagers used the shack to process tobacco, but it has been abandoned. The shack was poorly ventilated and had only one exit.