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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/4/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Girls, disable children frequently left at stations for later collection

China, the world's second largest economy, has issues with its newborn children. Couples in urban areas are under the "one-child" policy, and there is an overwhelming preference for male children. This in turn has led to the instigation of "baby safety islands" or "baby hatches," safe havens designated last year for protecting unwanted offspring. Children left at such places are by parents who are unwilling to raise them.

Children who are left in Tianjin are dropped off in a cozy room with pink walls, a cradle and an incubator.

Children who are left in Tianjin are dropped off in a cozy room with pink walls, a cradle and an incubator.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/4/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: China, one-child policy, female children, baby hatches


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "We need to build these islands to protect children from further injury," Zhang Min, head of a government-run orphanage in the northern coastal city of Tianjin says.

Children who are left in Tianjin are dropped off in a cozy room with pink walls, a cradle and an incubator.

A child is hungry -- and needs your help --

The local media here frequently report on harrowing stories of babies being abandoned. The high rate of abandoned children has been attributed to young mothers unaware that they are pregnant. The birth of an unwanted girl in a society where greater value is placed on boys puts an undue strain on young, unwed mothers here.

In one horrific instance, a baby was found in a dumpster on the outskirts of Beijing. He didn't survive. In another, firemen in eastern China rescued an abandoned newborn boy from a sewage pipe.

Officials estimate some 10,000 unwanted children are still received each year. An unknown number of abandoned babies are also adopted informally.

Chinese orphanages at one time were overwhelmingly filled with girls, due to the cultural preference for male heirs and three decades of a strict one-child policy. If couples were allowed only one child, many wanted to make sure it was a boy.

As China becomes wealthier, the abandoned children tend to be of both sexes, are usually seriously sick or disabled.

Government officials say baby hatches are needed because of the illnesses and disabilities, often in need of immediate medical attention. Each province has to set up a minimum of two by the end of the year.

"With more and more disabled children, it could mean they die if we find them 10 minutes late," Ji Gang, an official with the China Centre for Children's Welfare and Adoption says.

Some say that the baby hatches may encourage more parents to abandon babies. The numbers of abandoned children, however, have since dropped off, welfare officials said.

"Child abandonment exists. Baby hatches won't encourage more parents to abandon children," Wang Zhenyao, a social welfare expert says. "They will only provide more accurate numbers."

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