China’s caged beggars,

September 21, 2012 by  

China’s caged beggars,, Beggars flocking a Buddhist temple in China have been segregated by authorities and kept in cage-like enclosures, drawing criticism from social activists, but official say that the move was aimed at protecting them from being trampled by the milling crowds of devotees.

Human rights campaigners expressed outrage after beggars in the Nanchang region were ordered to stay in cages during a religious festival at the temple.

“They were being segregated behind enclosures that resemble cages to ensure their safety and stop them from annoying visitors,” state-run Beijing News reported.

Chinese Internet users criticised the measure as an insult and inhumane for confining people like livestock.

But the local government says the fences were to protect the beggars from visitors to the city.

“We are keeping them behind bars for fear they will be trampled by the large crowds as they lay on the ground. Many professional beggars, old and disabled, come to the event every year,” an official surnamed Chen from the county government told the newspaper.

The measure could also prevent visitors from being harassed or swindled, he said.

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