Police and netizens are opposing a Chinese real estate agency's decision to allow its outlets nationwide to be used as emergency alert stations for abducted or missing children.
Many people have described the move as a publicity stunt.
Beijing Homelink Real Estate Brokerage Co, also known as Lianjia, said on Saturday that its 6,000 outlets will help children who have lost contact with their parents to obtain police assistance.
The company said the decision forms part of a program launched by Child Safety Emergency Response, a nongovernmental organization that is devoted to helping missing children, including those who are abducted, kidnapped or run away from their parents.
However, the company's decision has not been supported by the authorities, with police in at least two provincial areas saying it is not wise for children to be asked to make detours to find one of the real estate agency's outlets.
The Police Internet Department at Chongqing Public Security Bureau said in a micro blog post on Saturday that it would be much better for the children to remain in the areas where they became lost, and wait for their parents to reach them.
"Please stop the publicity stunts," Chongqing police said.
Reports also suggested that the courier service SF Express Co would use its outlets for the same purpose. However, the company denied the reports on its social media account on Monday.
It said that delivery couriers would be willing to help any missing children who turn to them for assistance.
Zhang Yongjiang, secretary-general of Child Safety Emergency Response, confirmed that Homelink and several other companies will form part of a program by the organization that is devoted to helping missing children to get in touch with police.
Zhang said the main aim of the program is to help children in a way similar to national information database Amber Alert in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe.
"We have seen from previous test results that many people will generally think twice before offering help to missing children. There is no such problem with institutions, be they commercial ones," he said.