Police are seeking the whereabouts of a fiftysomething foreigner they suspect of child abuse whose 8-year-old foster daughter is recovering from surgery at a Beijing hospital.

The Legal Daily reported yesterday that the girl, called Phoebe, is one of 11 ethnically Chinese foster children the man has been raising in various apartments around Beijing, most recently at Capital Paradise in Shunyi.

The girl, who at 20 kilos is underweight for her age, is still in critical condition at the hospital after three surgeries to relieve a duodenal obstruction and kidney damage that doctors believe were caused by external blunt force. A volunteer attending to the girl claims she said she had been beaten by her foster father, who has not been seen or heard from since Nov 24.

Reports say the man, referred to as Ray, lived for a time this year in a two-bedroom flat in Capital Paradise, where neighbors complained that the foster kids would occasionally be caught rifling through the trash to look for food. Area residents say the man was a frequent customer at the Pinnacle Plaza Starbucks where he would sip coffee while his children played in and around the store

According to hospital officials, Phoebe is fluent in English and only simple Chinese. She is extremely withdrawn and in her current condition is mostly too scared to talk to anyone.

The bulk of the Legal Daily report was based on an interview with a foreign volunteer using the pseudonym Xu Qiang, who claims to have helped the man take care of his 11 foster kids for several years.

This was the girl’s third trip to the hospital, the first two times being brought in by her foster father and also being checked out by him before doctors were satisfied that she had fully recovered. The third time she was brought in, on Nov 24, she was brought by a volunteer. Since then the man, nor his ten other foster children, has not been heard from.

Xu said Ray has been in China for over 30 years, speaks Chinese fluently and as far as he knows, has not held a regular job. He has been raising orphans from infancy since at least 2004, with most of the children abandoned by their natural parents because of birth defects such as cleft palate and mental retardation.

Xu said Ray and a "old Chinese lady" occasionally found the children abandoned at train stations and other locations, while others had been brought to him. Ray posts the stories of the orphans from onto an website and accepts donations to pay for the children's corrective surgeries, and the children typically remained with him afterward.

Xu and an additional witness contacted by the Beijinger claims Ray was harsh to the children in public, often pushing them, twisting their ears or yelling at them.

Xu said he volunteered at Ray’s house three times a week and would bring food each time, but it never seemed to be enough to feed the children, who seemed to subsist on potato chips and other junk food. The kids were trained to not answer the door unless it was a foreign face on the other side.

None of the children were formally educated and typically lived together in one room of a two bedroom apartment in squalid conditions. The children were home schooled and all have some level of reading and writing skills, though lagging behind kids of their age, Xu said.

On at least one occasion the children were spotted begging, in fluent English, in front of a foreign supermarket wearing tattered and dirty clothes.

Xu said that Ray would move every several months, and after each month would cease to contact former volunteers. Reporters interviewed Capital Paradise security guards who say he has since moved out, and Xu's latest attempts to contact the man via email and phone have failed.

Images: Legal Daily


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