Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chinese city suspends baby hatch after being overwhelmed with abandoned children

A baby hatch in southern China has been forced to suspend work after hundreds of infants were abandoned, overwhelming the centre, its director says. More than 260 children had been left at the welfare home in Guangzhou since 28 January, director Xu Jiu added. Staff will continue caring for babies already at the welfare home, all of whom suffer from illnesses, Mr Xu said.

China introduced the centres so parents could abandon infants safely rather than leaving them in the streets. Supporters say the baby hatches save lives, but critics say they encourage parents to abandon their children. Mr Xu announced the suspension on Sunday, saying that 262 babies had been left at the centre since the scheme began in January.

"I hope everyone understands the difficulties the welfare centre faces," Mr Xu said. "We are temporarily closing the centre [to new babies] so that we can properly care for the infants already at the centre." The centre, which also cares for orphans, has 1,000 beds. However, it currently houses 1,121 babies and young people, with another 1,274 in the care of foster families, Guangzhou's Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau said.

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All the abandoned infants had illnesses, such as cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome and congenital heart disease, the bureau added. It is thought that many parents abandon ill babies because they fear they cannot afford the medical care required. Abandoning children is illegal in China. However, authorities believe that the hatches give the infants a better chance of survival than if they were left in the street.


tony m said...

Heartless bastards.Whatever happened to compassion.It's their own blood for gods sake.

Ratz said...

Given the amount of female infanticide I think it's a damned good idea. People who accidentally get pregnant but aren't allowed to have abortions can leave them off secure in the knowledge they'll be well treated. Germany has 100s of these and Russia started doing so in 2011.

There used to be "Foundling wheels" which are like the drawers you get in banks. That way, the people working in the creche never see the parents.

Insolitus said...

You shouldn't be so quick to do a blanket judgment, tony m. In some circumstances, giving away your baby can be the most compassionate thing to do.