Thursday, February 20, 2014

Beijing opens dozens of new baby hatches for abandoned children

Desperation in the cities
Local residents visit new baby drop-off point
Local residents visit new baby drop-off point
The following comes from a Feb. 17 story on AsiaNews.
Every year in China at least 10 thousand infants are abandoned. Because of the one-child policy, many of them are girls, but there are also many babies with disabilities or serious illnesses.
Chinese authorities have opened 25 new “baby hatches,” where parents can leave their babies and thus save their lives. Over the next few months, the government has ordered that every city have at least two “hatches.”
According to Xinhua, since the first “hatches” were opened in 2011 there are now about 25. Within the first 15 days of opening in Guangzhou, 79 babies were abandoned.
The parents leave their child in the “hatches,” consisting of an incubator and a bell. After placing the newborn, they can ring the bell, which rings with a certain delay, to allow parents time to disappear into anonymity.
The majority of children placed in “nests” have disabilities or serious illnesses. In all likelihood, the parents abandon them because they have no money to deal with the medical care.
It is estimated that at least 10 thousand children are abandoned each year in China.
The new policy of “hatches” is a corrective to the one-child law that sought to prevent unwanted births or higher quotas than those set by the population control offices through severe fines and violence.
This has often led to the abandonment of girls. The important fact is that both girls and boys are being placed in the “hatches.” And this is exactly why the government decided to widen strictures of the one-child law, allowing couples in which one partner is an only child, to have a second child.
Several women interviewed about this so-called relaxation of the law have commented that it is useless. They add that many families are no longer able to support the costs of raising and educating one child in the cities let alone two.
The situation is different in the countryside where, in addition to the abandonment of girls, there is another problem: the presence of second and third children, not registered in order to escape the fines imposed by the Office of Population Control. It is estimated that this “anonymous” population could count as many as 60 million unregistered children.
To read the original story, click here.