An eighteen-month-old baby suffered malnutrition when locked up by authorities for 81 days during the World Expo in Shanghai earlier this year. The baby was detained along with his parents, petitioners who had traveled to present their grievances to the authorities, in a machine tool plant that served as a “black jail.”
The child’s mother, Du Qingyan, told The Epoch Times that the environment was awful for young children. They were locked in a room all day with no fresh air. The baby had to eat the same food the adults were given; there was no milk or fruit for him, and he became sick and emaciated.
“He wasn’t getting any nutritious food. He grew thin rapidly and began coughing and running fevers often,” Du said.
“When our baby’s condition became worse we started to protest. However, they [their captors] didn’t react until more than one month later, and even then they only gave us a bottle of yogurt and some fruit every day.”
In the morning of Aug. 12, Du and her husband Xiang Wenyin had taken their son Xiang Nanbei with them to the Office of Letters and Calls in Shanghai’s Yangpu District. They had a scheduled appointment with the chief, Chen Wei, to pick up the results of the hearing regarding their petitioning against the illegal demolition of their home six years ago.
When they arrived at the Office of Letters and Calls, to their surprise and shock a middle-aged man threatened them with reprisal if they “continued to do what they were doing.”
When Du insisted on seeing the result of the hearing, the man called around thirty others who roughed the couple up, took their cell phones, and forced them, along with their infant, into a car, and sped them straight to the black jail.
The couple was furious and demanded to know what they had done wrong and why they were being detained. “You didn’t do anything wrong,” they were told. “You’ve been pretty busy recently, and we’re letting you take a ‘rest’ here.”
The couple’s house was forcefully demolished in 2004, but they say they never received any compensation, nor were they offered another place to live.
They had pinned all their hopes on getting justice through the hearing, which took place earlier this year. While waiting for notification of the outcome, in order to survive, the couple begged for money in the streets near the Expo, taking the youngest of their three children along.
“It’s been half a year since the hearing, and they still would not give us the result,” Du said.
The family was released from detention on Nov. 1, the day after the World Expo ended. They were also given the result of their home demolition hearing. The hearing did not solve anything and their situation remains the same, they said.
To prepare for the World Expo, the Shanghai government displaced at least 18,000 families and 270 factories. Many residents who lived near the Huangpu River were forced to relocate and given minimal compensation. Countless have become homeless while some have been detained, beaten, and even killed in the struggle to keep their properties, according to earlier Epoch Times report.