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Chinese supermarkets sell bottled water carrying missing child advertisements

Supermarkets in China have been helping heart-broken parents search for their missing sons and daughters by selling bottled water labelled with missing child advertisements.

Footage shows packs of the products, printed with pictures and information of the disappearing youngsters, being displayed at a grocery shop in the north-western Chinese city Xi'an.

Child abduction is a serious issue in China. Around 200,000 boys and girls are estimated to be missing every year, according to reports.

Supermarkets in China have been trying to reunite lost sons and daughters with their desperate parents by selling bottled water labelled with missing child advertisements

Footage shows packs of the products, printed with pictures and information of the disappearing youngsters being displayed at a grocery shop in the central Chinese city Xi'an

Since 2017, the organisation has been working with Lanxiang, a Chinese beverage company, to sell the soda water labelled with information about disappearing youngsters, reports say

Among those missing children, only 200, or 0.1 per cent, would be able to find their parents at some point in their lives, according to a Chinese news report.

The bottled water carrying missing child advertisements is a campaign initiated by Bao Bei Hui Jia, or 'Baby Come Home', a major Chinese charity that helps families find their missing children.

Since 2017, the organisation has been working with Lanxiang, a Chinese beverage company, to sell the soda water labelled with information about disappearing youngsters, reported Chinese media.

The campaign was brought to light once again after the products were recently spotted at a supermarket in Xi'an of Shaanxi province.

Footage released by Shaanxi Television today shows packs of the bottled water being sold at the price of one yuan (£0.11) at the grocery store.

Child abduction is a serious issue in China. Around 200,000 boys and girls are estimated to be missing every year, according to reports. The picture shows the bottled water carrying missing child advertisements at a supermarket in Chinese central province Shaanxi's Xi'an city

The picture shows one of the bottle labels containing a picture of one of the missing children, along with the location and date when the youngster disappears and his date of birth

The bottled water carrying missing child advertisements is a campaign initiated by Bao Bei Hui Jia, or 'Baby Come Home', a major Chinese charity helping families find their missing children

The bottle label contains a picture of the missing child, along with the location and date when the youngster disappears and their date of birth.

The advertisement wrote: 'No matter who you are, please help our children return home.'

The Chinese charity told the local station that people had contacted them with tips about missing children after the bottled water started being sold at supermarkets.

Information on the labels gets updated regularly and will be removed once the child is found, says the Shaanxi TV channel.

The organisation has also been working with other Chinese businesses to help expand the search radar for missing children by displaying those advertisements, according to their website. 

Human trafficking has been a serious issue in Chinese society. Although there are no official figures, media reports suggest that between 20,000 to 200,000 youngsters are snatched away from their families in the country every year.

Some are bought, some are simply stolen. They end up as labourers, in forced marriages or as the adoptees of wealthy families, either in China itself or overseas.

The news comes as a 60-year-old Chinese mother has been reunited with her 34-year-old son who was abducted at the age of two after she searched for him tirelessly for over three decades.

The parent, Li Jingzhi, had spent the last 32 years travelling across China on a quest to look for her child, nicknamed Jia Jia, after he was kidnapped on the street in 1988, reported Chinese media in May.

Why is child abduction a serious problem in China?

Around 200,000 boys and girls are reported to be missing every year in China

Child abduction is a serious problem in China, especially in rural areas. 

One major cause is that the Chinese families prefer sons to daughters, resulting in them buying baby boys. 

In addition, a severe gender gap - a result of four decades of one-child policy - has made it hard for Chinese men to find wives. Therefore, teenager girls are sometimes kidnapped and sold as child brides.

Child abduction remains a sensitive topic to the Chinese authorities. No official figures have been released on how many children are kidnapped in China every year.

However according to a 2013 report on China Nation Radio, around 200,000 boys and girls are estimated to be missing every year. Among them, only 200, or 0.1 per cent, would be able to find their parents at some point of their lives.

A survey shows that around 64 per cent of the kidnapped children in China are boys

But other recent reports have estimated that the estimated number could fall anywhere between 20,000 and 200,000.

Baobeihuijia, a website specialised in connecting families with their missing members, has conducted a survey on the kidnapped children in China based on 8,861 cases listed on their website. 

The survey shows that around 64 per cent of the kidnapped children are boys and more than 75 per cent of the kidnapped children are under the age of six.

However, among those who are abducted over the age of 13, there are more girls than boys.

The survey also claims that children under the age of four are most likely to be abducted in China.

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