Letter: China's orphanages need help, not sensationalist criticism

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The Independent Online
From Mr Mark Abell

Sir: As the adoptive parent of a child from China, I watched the Channel 4 documentary Return to the Dying Rooms with some horror at the sensationalist journalism.

I am a member of a support group for parents who have adopted children from China. We have more than 30 members and are growing fast. Our group's experience of orphanages in many different parts of China is that they are staffed by caring, well-intentioned individuals working with what are sometimes meagre resources.

Conditions in some of China's orphanages may not be perfect, but to suggest that the systematic murder of children is the policy of the Chinese government, or is in some way condoned by it, is ludicrous.

The programme did not mention that the Chinese government runs a speedy, sensitive and very humane overseas adoption programme to try and ensure that as many abandoned children as possible are able to enjoy a happy, healthy life with a family. There is no "baby trade" in China. The only costs involved are the administrative costs and a donation to the orphanage.

The Chinese government has reacted negatively to the TV programme. Recent history shows that Peking will not be coerced by pressure from overseas and that it resents what it sees as unnecessary foreign interference in domestic affairs.

If we really want to help the children in China's orphanages we should be working with the Chinese government - not against it.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Abell

Northwood, Middlesex

10 January

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