Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Girl in the dark

Part 1

A rather grim story hit the headlines yesterday, here in Liuzhou.

In 1996, a young girl of approximately 10 years old was seen wandering around after a flood. A old local woman ‘adopted’ her and everyone forgot her. Unfortunately, the woman is a schizophrenic who survives by gathering and selling trash. Neighbours avoided the house as it stank of rubbish.

The girl was kept inside the old woman’s home and never allowed out. The room had no water, electricity or lavatory facilities. Neighbours finally found her last week, where she was living among the rubbish piled all over the building. Now around 20 years old, she is unable to bear sunlight or to even stand up. She permanently crouches “as if hiding.” All she says is “Father, I was wrong,” over and over again.

Both the old woman and the girl are now being treated in hospital.

Before being shipped off to hospital, the press and media were invited to come and stare at the poor misfortunate, as were the local citizens. There is no privacy in China.

(I’ve been mulling over whether or not to post this at all. Of course, I am invading her privacy just as much as anyone else by disseminating these pictures. However, now that they are out there anyway, perhaps it is useful to shed light on an area of China which is seldom discussed – the devastating effect of mental illness and the way it often goes untreated. There is still a huge stigma attached to mental illness here. )


This story has, perhaps not surprisingly, really grabbed the locals’ attention. Today’s paper continues by showing the girl being carried to a waiting ambulance still in that foetal position and then later, sitting on her hospital bed.

Despite my reservations about her lack of privacy, it is sometimes the case here that the publicity leads to donations being made to cover medical and other fees. Remember, there is no free health care here in socialist heaven. So maybe the publicity can help her. Let’s hope so.

. This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2007 at 9:15 am and is filed under Liuzhou News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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