China’s Unwanted Babies: City Mulls Launch of Baby Dump Box Facility

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | December 3, 2013 12:53 PM EST

A Chinese city is mulling to construct and launch in 2014 a baby dump box facility to accommodate the country's surging unwanted newborns, much to the chagrin of netizens who pointed out it will instead encourage irresponsible parents to just give away their unwanted children.

Authorities from the city of Shenzhen have reportedly applied and filed the necessary permits and other documentations before the Guangdong provincial authorities necessary to pilot the facility in 2014.

Spearheaded by social welfare organisations, the groups maintained establishing the facility is better to give the unwanted newborns a chance to live rather than be killed. Infanticide is rampant and "normal" in China because of its constrictive one-child policy.

"The life of an infant is fragile. Fifteen to 20 minutes after an infant is abandoned is the prime time to save its life," Tang Rongsheng, head of Shenzhen Social Welfare Center, told People's Daily Newspaper. "The shelter embodies the idea of prioritizing the interest of the child."

Essentially, the facility will augur for the survival chances of an abandoned child, he noted.

Based on their submitted application, the facility will be a 10 square metre steel structure equipped with an infant incubator, a time-delay alarm button as well as a LED sign. It will be placed 200 metres away from a welfare house and 20 metres from the nearest hospital in Shenzhen.

Parents abandoning their unwanted newborns need not worry about exposing their identities because the facility wont be equipped with cameras.

"A parent can put the baby down, press the alarm button and leave without being traced. Welfare staff would pick up the baby minutes later," Mr Tang said.

As far as China's rampant infanticide goes, the city of Shenzhen is not the pioneer of such baby dump box facilities.

In 2011, the city of Shijiazhuang launched a same facility where it has since received 170 infants. The Jiangsu province Web portal reported other Chinese cities are expected to follow suit.

Han Jinhong, head of the Shijiazhuang Welfare House, said unwanted newborns are usually abandoned at night. Even a healthy baby, without shelter, would die out there - either from the cold or worst, get devoured by wild animals.

"If we cannot fundamentally eradicate the behaviors of abandoning infants, we can at least do our utmost to save these young lives," she said.

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