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How China Turns A Blind Eye To Child Abuse

The most populous country in the world has no clear method for reporting or responding to abuse of its most vulnerable. Child welfare organizations fight to make a change.

Children in Haikou, Hunan Province
Children in Haikou, Hunan Province
Lan Fang

BEIJING — For years, 11-year-old Lily suffered cruel corporal punishment at the hands of her mother. She was also deprived of meals, an education and kind words. But after more than two months of work, the Children’s Hope Foundation finally obtained an agreement and signature from her mother to be allowed to help the child. It is one of the rare cases in China when, thanks to the intervention of press and police, a civic organization has been able to rescue a physically abused child.

Lily has a twin sister, who stayed with their mother from birth while Lily was sent to live with her grandparents until she was three years old. Being divorced and under great economic hardship, Lily’s mother became increasingly ill-tempered. Compared with her twin sister, Lily is said to be naughty and capricious, and very often angered her mother, who would punish her by leaving her standing at the doorway, sometimes for the whole day. Too often deprived of meals as she grew older, she had a tendency to run away. Every time the police brought Lily back, they tried preaching good sense to both mother and daughter, but the situation remained unchanged.

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Ideas

Artificial Satellite Pollution, Perils For Biodiversity In Space And On Earth

Exploiting space resources and littering it with satellite and other anthropogenic objects is endangering the ecosystem of space, which also damages the earth and its creatures below.

Image of the small satellite NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite deployed into space by the ISS

Thomas Lewton

Outer space isn’t what most people would think of as an ecosystem. Its barren and frigid void isn’t exactly akin to the verdant canopies of a rainforest or to the iridescent shoals that swim among coral cities. But if we are to become better stewards of the increasingly frenzied band of orbital space above our atmosphere, a shift to thinking of it as an ecosystem — as part of an interconnected system of living things interacting with their physical environment — may be just what we need.

Last month, in the journal Nature Astronomy, a collective of 11 astrophysicists and space scientists proposed we do just that, citing the proliferation of anthropogenic space objects. Thousands of satellites currently orbit the Earth, with commercial internet providers such as SpaceX’s Starlink launching new ones at a dizzying pace. Based on proposals for projects in the future, the authors note, the number could reach more than a hundred thousand within the decade. Artificial satellites, long a vital part of the space ecosystem, have arguably become an invasive species.

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