Skip to content

The “Chained Woman” Case and the One Million People Missing in China in 2020

The “chained woman” case was exposed in January and quickly became the hottest issue among the whole of China. By February 21, case-related articles on the Internet had been read over 6 billion times. This case was about the crime of trafficking women and turning them into sex slaves.

A woman was kidnapped in 1997 and in 1998, she was sold to a village man in Dongji Township, Feng County, Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province. The family kept her as a sex slave – though they called her the wife of their first son Dong Zhimin. All of the men in the family including Dong Zhimin, his father, and his brother repeatedly raped the woman. The family locked her up, using an iron chain and pulled out almost all her teeth so that she could not bite any of the sex offenders when They were raping her. Dong has eight children (it is not known whether the woman gave birth to all of them).

After the case was exposed, the Chinese authorities, from the county to city to the central government in Beijing, tried to cover it up. They locked the woman up in a mental hospital. The authorities claimed that she was a missing person, Xiao Huamei from Yunan Province. The public, on the other hand, came up with substantial evidence pointing out that she was Li Ying from Sichuan Province. The reasons that the government denied she was Li Ying were, first, that Li Ying’s father served in the army and the authorities did not want soldiers to feel that they can’t even protect their own families; and second, that Li Ying was kidnapped when she was less than 13 years old. That would mean that Dong’s family group raped an underage girl. The authorities also built walls to block people from entering the village and detained and harassed anyone coming to the township in order to “protect” the woman.

The Chinese people exposed the information that these women trafficking and sex slave cases were common throughout China. In many cases, the whole village helped to guard the kidnapped women and chased them back if they tried to escape. The local authorities acquiesced and even supported the practice, including issuing a fake or illegal residence card, a marriage certificate, and a birth certificate. When kidnapped women went to the court to seek a separation, which was very difficult to accomplish, the judges rejected divorce and asked them to go back to the rapist who kept them as slaves.

An article in the state media “China Daily.” published on February 25, 2021, revealed how severe this human trafficking problem is in China. In 2020 alone, there were one million people missing in China, according to the “China’s Missing People Whitepaper (2020).” This was already a “great improvement” from the 3.94 million who were missing in 2016 and 2.6 million in 2017.

Source: China Daily, February 26, 2021