Just two weeks after the first "baby hatch" was established in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, late January, it had collected nearly 80 abandoned infants.
More baby hatches for China despite controversy
A total of 25 baby hatches have been established in 10 provincial regions in China, and more will be set up in another 18 regions, the China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) told Xinhua.
Baby hatches help protection: official
Baby hatches to receive abandoned infants will help to protect such babies and are in line with the law.
99%of babies left at hatches have illnesses or disabilities.
--Ji Gang, a staff member of China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption
Most of the parents left brief notes or cash along with the infants indicating that they had no choice but to abandon their children.
Their parents are afraid of becoming impoverished as they cannot afford the expensive medical bills and fees for special education.
The Shijiazhuang social welfare institution received 105 infants in 2009 and 83 in 2010. Since the baby hatch was set up in June 2011, it has received 181 abandoned children.
Only one-third of abandoned babies in Shijiazhuang survived before, but now the death rate has fallen sharply with the help of the baby hatch.
Dou Yupei, vice minister of civil affairs
The abandonment of babies is illegal and runs against moral values in China, but establishing baby hatches is based on the respect for life and the priority of children's rights.
Li Bo, head of China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption
Baby hatches can better protect babies after being abandoned and improve their survival rate…Laws emphasize prevention, while baby hatches focus on rescue after the laws are broken.
Han Jinhong, head of Shijiazhuang social welfare institution
Although we cannot change the abandonment of babies, we can change the results after they are dumped.
There seems to be controversy between what social ethics demand and what the law prohibits. If this issue can be looked at as part of the bigger picture, the adoption and expansion of baby hatches is actually a major step forward in the development of China's social welfare system, which was long denounced for lack of investment.
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Newspaper headline: Plans to increase ‘baby hatches’ spawn debate