Fast Company

China's Crime-Fighting Microblog Gets Celebrity Support

Jet Li joins the fight to rescue child street beggars.

Jet Li

China's microblogs have witnessed something of a crime-fighting revolution in recent weeks. The microblog called Street Photos to Rescue Child Beggars has helped reunite abducted children with their parents by having people take pictures of street children and post their photos and relevant information on the microblog. And now, it's getting some star-studded support from action star Jet Li's One Foundation to help scale up the blog's efforts and rescue more children.

"We didn't expect it would be such a big campaign when we initiated the microblog, and now we want to put it on the right track," said the microblog's founder, Yu Jianrong, who is an activist and Professor at the Rural Development Institute of the China Academy of Social Sciences. "Microblogs are the new platform, which makes the impact greater than we could imagine."

The partnership with the One Foundation will take the form of a newly arranged fund dedicated to rehabilitating child street beggars, allowing them to attend school and assimilate into a life off the streets. Yu and his partners are brewing up a national campaign, calling upon government officials, celebrities, activists, students, and others to get involved.

"Our main purpose is to increase the awareness of the country's top legislative organs on this issue and to call on different government departments to take concrete measures to guarantee all children's rights and send child beggars back home and make sure they can live a normal life again," Yu said.

The police are dedicated followers of Yu's microblog and he says that "the pictures posted featuring beggar children could facilitate the rescue efforts of the police."

Yu currently has 218,000 followers, and more than 3,000 pictures have already been posted.

"I don't think the central government fears microblogs," said local journalist, Deng Fei. "...Many government departments are starting microblogs. Our high-level officials are taking a very transparent approach to this."

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[Image: Flickr user Robert Scoble]

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