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Shenzhen parents can now abandon babies with ease at new facility

Posted: 11/26/2013 2:16 pm

Infanticide and child abandonment are becoming more common problems in China, creating all kinds of challenges for police and caregivers. To tackle the problem, Shenzhen has found a rather unique solution: open a facility where disgruntled parents can drop off their newborn, then walk away with no regrets.

Yang Cheng Evening Daily reports a program called “Qi Yi Dao” was finalized on Sunday, according to the director of the Shenzhen Social Welfare Centre Tang Rongsheng. It is slated to open next year as the first facility of its kind in Guangdong.

Translated as “Baby Safety Island”, the facility will be similar to baby hatches elsewhere. For background, we refer to the ever-trustworthy Wikipedia:

baby hatch is a place where people (typically mothers) can bring babies, usually newborn, and leave them anonymously in a safe place to be found and cared for. This kind of arrangement was common in the Middle Ages and in the 18th and 19th centuries, when the device was known as a foundling wheel. Foundling wheels were taken out of use in the late 19th century but a modern form, the baby hatch, began to be introduced again from 1952 and since 2000 has come into use in many countries, notably in Germany where there are around 100 hatches and in Pakistan where there are over 300 today.

In Germany, a parent simply approaches the facility, drops off the kid, and then presses an alarm which notifies staff a new baby has been dropped off.  It will then be cared for with the goal of finding it a loving family.

Yang Jianchan, a government official in Shenzhen, said the facility is needed in the city. “Shenzhen has many migrant workers, and many Guangdong people prefer to have a son rather than a daughter. This program could encourage parents to abandon baby girls in a much more safe way.”

Tang doesn’t think building a “Baby Safety Island” will wipe out such inhuman behaviour, but it could improve the survival rate of abandoned babies. He also stressed the facility will have a 24-hour watch system.

Update 3:32pm

Twitter user @williamnee has pointed to a documentary done on abandoned babies in South Korea. In this case, a pastor has left a box outside of his home in which parents can leave their babies.

The video has been done by a group called Journeyman Pictures. Check it out.

  • Tony

    1. How is this paid for?
    2. They expect abandoned females to be adopted in a culture where parents don’t want females?

    • Nick

      I don’t know the numbers behind how many babies would be expected to be left here but I would hope that they could find enough parents willing to adopt most of these children, male or female. Either way, even if a lot of these children may still end up without parents, I think that this shelter will at least offer them a much more favourable start than simply being abandoned or worse.

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