The Human Beggar Zoo in China

When beggars began to turn up in droves at a local religious festival, Chinese officials came up with a rather unusual - and some say cruel - solution, a human cage:

According to a Nanchang official, in recent years the number of beggars turning up for the local religious festival has increased to a point where they’re actually making temple visitors uncomfortable with their lamenting and pleading for some pocket change. So this year, to make sure everyone attending the festivities will be left alone, they decided to separate the hundreds of beggars in small metal cages around the festival grounds, where people can still give donations if they wish, but without being followed around and nagged while they’re on a day out with their family.

“The beggars are quite comfortable in their cages, people send them food and water as gifts. In a way it is better for them there than having to find a place on the busy streets,” festival organizers said.” The beggars can leave whenever they like but they have to leave the city too, they can’t go into the fair,’ they added.

Human rights activists are not amused:

“Do they want people to believe the region has no poor people and just put on a good show? These people need help. We should not be allowing them to be locked away in cages. These people are human beings too,” one said, while another commented “They are treating them like zoo animals. What will they have to do next – tricks for their food? This is nothing but public humiliation!”

Oddity Central has the post: Link

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I must agree, there's a difference between just begging and aggressive panhandling, the latter being basically harassment.

I'm not sure where the "human rights activists" get the idea the authorities are trying to make it look like "the region has no poor people". They're right there, in cages, all around the festival grounds. One could almost say that the poor from the region are on prominent display where festival attendees can give them alms conveniently if they choose to. This solution seems better than just removing the panhandlers altogether or arresting them under selectively-applied anti-camping/anti-loitering/anti-panhandling ordinances, which is what a lot of municipalities around the USA do to get rid of unsightly hobos and homeless people.
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