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Netizens question narrative of human trafficking victim turned model teacher

Updated: 2015-07-30 15:30
By Liu Wei (chinadaily.com.cn)

Netizens question narrative of human trafficking victim turned model teacher

Gao Yanmin plays with children at a school in Xiagu village, Quyang county, Baoding, Hebei province, May 13, 2015. [Photo/CFP]

Gao's plight was put under the spotlight in 2006 when local media heaped praises on her for her devotion to her students and her forgiveness of those who harmed her, dubbing her "the most beautiful rural teacher". A year later, she was nominated for a provincial award as a role model. Her story received wide media coverage and was even adapted as a movie in 2009.

Gao's story has been noticed and posted online again by an Internet user this week then soon spread like a virus on most Chinese news outlets and popular social networks like Sina Weibo and WeChat.

Netizens questioned the narrative that minimized the problem of human trafficking and abduction while focusing instead on Gao’s resignation to her fate. They felt that the people responsible for her plight were not held accountable, and that it was a twisted value system that held her up to be a role model for accepting her fate.

A Weibo user said: "I could not understand why the social tragedy and embarrassment became a model." Another Weibo user commented: "How could you have the nerve to ask a victim to shoulder the responsibility while letting the traffickers go unpunished?"

Zeng Yaxian, writer and columnist with news portal sina.com, called for an end of hardships for Gao and a return of her dignity.

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