A newborn baby boy has been rescued after being flushed down the toilet. The infant was found in the sewage pipe in a residential building in Jinhua in the wealthy coastal province of Zhejiang on Saturday afternoon after residents reported the sound of a baby crying.
Attempts to pull him out failed, so rescuers sawed away a section of the four-inch wide pipe with the baby inside and took him to a local hospital. Firefighters and doctors spent nearly an hour taking the tube apart piece by piece with pliers and saws and finally recovered the newborn, whose placenta was still attached.
From the time he was found to when he was taken out, the baby was stuck in the tube for at least two hours. Dramatic footage has emerged of the newborn being freed from the pipe. The 2.3-kilogram boy suffered some cuts to his face and limbs and his heart rate was low at one point.
The tot named Baby No. 59 from the number of his hospital incubator was understood to be in a stable condition. “Fortunately the baby survived,” said an official. A number of visitors have donated nappies, baby clothes and powdered milk to the hospital to help the little boy.
Meanwhile, a police officer in Jinhua said that the baby’s unmarried mother had hidden her pregnancy. The baby fell into the toilet after she unexpectedly gave birth, the officer said. “The woman was on the scene during the entire rescue process... and admitted [she was the mother] when we asked her,” he said.
He said police were still investigating whether ‘she had any malicious intentions’ before deciding if charges should be filed. There was still no information on the baby’s father, he said. There are frequent reports in Chinese media of babies being abandoned, often shortly after birth.
The problem has been attributed variously to young mothers unaware they were pregnant, the birth of an unwanted girl in a society which puts greater value on boys and China’s strict family planning rules. The latest case has been widely discussed on China’s Twitter-like service Sina Weibo with calls for the parents to be severely punished.
“The parents who did this have hearts even filthier than that of sewage pipe,” wrote one user. Another posted, “Mom, come back! The baby is resilient and alive. Please show up, Mom. This is your own baby and he should return to your warm embrace soon.”
In March, China released data indicating there are 9,394 orphans and abandoned babies across China being cared for by non-government affiliated agencies. This figure obviously does not include the babies who did not make it. The Chinese-language newsweekly MinSheng reported last year that 100,000 babies are estimated to have been abandoned each year in China, that’s 250 everyday.