Abandoned baby 'almost choked to death' after being stuffed inside bag

Child was rescued by passersby who heard its cries; police have not said if parents were found

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 3:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 4:05pm

A newborn girl was discovered swaddled inside a zipped bag that was left on a roadside in Xiamen city this week, and was rescued before it choked to death.

Passersby heard an infant’s muffled cries while walking on Jiahe Road in one of Fujian province’s largest cities at around 8am on Wednesday, according to Xinhua.

One of them, a woman identified as Ms Guo, said she turned around to look for the source of the sound and thought it was coming from a “suspicious” brown bag.

When she unzipped it, she was shocked to find a baby, face-down, in the bag.

Guo said she immediately turned the baby, whose face was blue, into the upright position. “The baby’s face was already oxygen-deficit,” the Xinhua report said, quoting the woman.

Guo yelled for someone to make an emergency call and soon two or three other people came to help.

They gave the baby some water and called police. They soothed the baby until it stopped crying.

The state mouthpiece People's Daily said in its Twitter account that the child was barely a month old.

It was as yet unclear whether the parents have been identified by the authorities.

China has seen thousands of abandoned children across the country in recent years, prompting the government to establish care centres – called “baby hatches” – in major provinces where parents can anonymously leave their children into safe hands without fear of legal repercussions.

According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, there were 570,000 orphans and abandoned children as of 2012, but only 95,000 of them could be accommodated in 463 state-owned mainland orphanages.

The project has been controversial as it is criticised as encouraging parents to abandon their children, which is illegal on the mainland and punishable by up to five years in jail.

About 25 such hatches have been established on the mainland in 10 provinces and major cities.

The first baby hatch was opened in Shijiazhuang in Hebei province more than two years ago. The Ministry of Civil Affairs decided to expand the project nationwide before the end of next year.

Abandoned: Heart-breaking pictures of parents leaving their children in China’s notorious 'baby hatches'

However many baby hatches have struggled to accommodate the amount of children being left at their doorsteps. In March, a centre in Guangzhou was forced to temporarily suspend operations after the ran out of beds.

The Guangzhou baby hatch reportedly received 262 abandoned babies in the first three months of the year, but it only had room for 100.

Similarly, hatches in Urumqi and Zhengzhou had to shut due to the lack of funding and manpower.