Beijing, Feb 1 (IANS) Around 1,600 children from northwest China's Muslim-majority Xinjiang region, abducted and trafficked across the country and forced to carry out illegal activities, have returned home and resumed a normal life.
The figure was announced at the Xinjiang Uygur people's congress in response to a proposal suggesting better care for such children, Xinhua reported.
The government vowed to rescue and educate such children, with help from non-governmental organisations and volunteers.
The region started a campaign in April 2011 to bring all vagrant children back, eliminate organised crime and restore the region's reputation.
Netizens joined the campaign by raising donations online and bought train tickets for vagrant children across the nation.
However, the living conditions of many such children was worrying, according to the Xinjiang Women's Federation.
A survey found that most children are reluctant to settle down in their hometowns because the villages lag behind the big cities where they used to live.
Many of them also felt detached from their parents because they were too busy working to show any affection to them, the survey said.
Some children were even abandoned by their divorced parents, for neither parent was willing to bring them up, an official said.
Many children, having been school dropouts for years, were reluctant to return to education as they felt it was too difficult to catch up with their peers.
Xinjiang has spent 88 million yuan (about $14 million) on a training centre and shelter for vagrant children.
The shelter will accommodate 500 people upon completion of its first phase of construction in October.