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Is China’s Investigation of the ‘Chained Woman’ Set to Do Her More Harm Than Good?

Parents in China understand the need to keep a close eye on their children: to prevent them from wandering off, as there is an ever-present risk of child abduction. Over there, the idea of children being stolen, sold, and enslaved is not an abstract notion or an isolated circumstance—it’s a day-to-day reality. In 1995, a girl from China’s Sichuan Province was abducted and trafficked and not seen again.

In January 2022, Beijing—sanitized for the world’s eyes—braced to host the Winter Olympics. Meanwhile, in a village hundreds of miles away, a startling testament to China’s brutal human-trafficking industry was being discovered. Is the woman found chained to the wall in a doorless shed and barely able to speak, the same girl–now grown up–that was abducted in Sichuan all those years ago?

The discovery of the chained woman has triggered an outpour of anger, concern, and dissatisfaction with the system that the Chinese Communist Party is employing—its utilities of surveillance and censorship used to suppress. What will be the ultimate outcome for this woman who has abruptly stirred China’s collective conscience and who now represents a major inconvenience to the country’s ruling regime?

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