From Phoenix Online:
24 Hours at a Guangzhou Baby Hatch: Reporter Witnesses 8 Infants Abandoned
From the night of February 26th to the morning of the 28th, over the two 12 hour opening times of Guangzhou’s “Baby Safety Island” [baby hatch/box], reporter Hou Fang witnessed 8 farewells, and 8 children being abandoned. 48 days later, on March 16th, Guangzhou’s “Baby Safety Island” was suspended. Photo is of 7:20pm on the night of February 26th, of two women choking on their sobs outside the metal gate of the welfare agency [baby hatch]. One of them was holding her child. She says her child has Down’s Syndrome. Several security guards are beside them trying to talk her out of this, but when she heard someone in the crowd said “all you have to do is put the child inside and walk right out”, she immediately stood up, still weeping, and walked step-by-step with her child in her arms towards the baby hatch. Photographed by Shi Liu.
On the night of February 26, at 7:50pm, a car from out of town turned and stopped in front of the welfare agency. Then, two men and a woman came out of the car, with a baby suffering from leukemia in the woman’s arms. It was the child’s relatives who took the child here, the parents couldn’t even bear to walk out of the car to look upon their child one last time. The two men explained the child’s illness to the security guards, while the woman held the child, looking at it in silence. The child lay quietly in the swaddling clothes, a quietness that was heartbreaking.
On the night of February 26, at around 8pm, a small man less than 160cm tall, with unkempt hair, dressed in black, with only the yellow blanket he held in his arms being particularly eye-catching. Poking out from the black was a small head, with sunken cheeks and glazed-over eyes, its gender unable to be distinguished. The man slowly walked towards the welfare agency. At the entrance, he timidly asked the residents gathered there: ”Will they really let me in?” The man was stopped by the security guards. They asked him: ”How old is this child? Not yet 2 years old? Impossible! Overage children can’t be left here.” The man insisted for a few minutes, but eventually confessed that the child was “a little more than 4 years old”. Then he started to cry, and his words could not be understood. “If you don’t take [the child], no one else will. The doctor says [the child] can’t be cured.” The man sat under the shade of a tree, buried his face in the blanket. The child started to giggle, the leg that stuck out of the blanket looking like just skin over bones. A little more than 10 minutes later, he suddenly stood up, and with the child in his arms walked out the entrance. As he left the welfare agency, as if fearing the light, he disappeared into the shade of the trees just as he had emerged from them when he first arrived. Originally he said that he came all the way from Guangxi to give away his child, but later it was learned that he was from a small town from the northern part of Guangdong.
[February] 26th, women carrying children, ultimately stepping into the baby hatch.
[February] 26th, after a baby is placed in the baby hatch, security guards watch the door until medical personnel come and take the baby away.
On the night of February 27th, at 9:25pm, a father and mother pair wearing face masks approach [the baby hatch], a child in the woman’s arms, while the man carried a blue oxygen bag. “He has Pierre Robin syndrome, but what’s fatal is the softening of his cartilagines laryngis, and his posterior pharynx is closed,” said the man who was slightly calmer [than the woman]. The child was less than one year old. “The sole purpose of us sending the child here is its survival. Life is above all things. We just hope our child will be able to survive here.”
On the night of February 27th, at 11:06pm. This is the last goodbye, this is the last look. There are two kinds of reluctance, one is to leave with bitter resolution, and the other is to linger. The father cries with his face buried in his hands, unable to bear looking back one more time, while the mother, supporting herself on the metal door, keeps looking back. As the two were leaving, the mother put her hand on a large tree by the entrance to the baby hatch and threw up. Photographed by Shi Liu
[February] 27th, a woman holding a child, ultimately stepping into the baby hatch.
[February] 27th, a mother chocking on her sobs in the baby hatch after putting her child down.
[February] 27th, under the night sky, just one light in front of the baby hatch shines through the night. After placing their baby in the baby hatch, parents walk away holding each other, their steps heavy.
[February] 27th, as they walked farther and farther away, as they faced the bustling street at the intersection, their backs to the baby hatch where they had left their child, the man who had so far seemed calm and resolute finally broke down and began crying. Then, the two of them disappeared at the end of the road.
February 28th, at 2:46am, the mother of a boy sank to her knees at the feet of a [baby hatch] staff member, wailing. After screaming, ”I’m in more pain that anyone else”, she passed out on the ground. Meanwhile, the boy was cheerfully pulling the metal door to the baby hatch. The mother tried to grab him, but he slipped away easily. She endured all kinds of hardships raising the boy, and after reading the news of about the baby hatch, she decided to take her boy here.
The boy tries to open the door into the baby hatch, while it was his mother’s idea to take him here anyway. The sick boy had no idea what was going on around him and here his mother, who had been kneeling on the ground for a long time, passed out for a moment.
The fallen leaves in front of the baby hatch have gone days without being swept. A discarded feeding-bottle lies by the roadside. In the quiet of the night, lights both warm and cold entwined, like the many scenes of sad goodbyes. On one side is the baby hatch, and on the other side was the world outside the baby hatch. This is the dividing line of fate.
Comments from Phoenix Online:
Because it’s difficult to see a doctor, and it’s expensive to receive medical treatment, one after another, families give up the last hope of medical treatment! Sad!
Reading such news on a weekend morning right after getting up, my heart feels so heavy! A rich nation of poor people living under great stress!
In the face of serious and terrible illnesses, where can ordinary families go for help?!
Speechless. Their pain is beyond the understanding of simple moral judgement! I hope our country’s disease intervention and treatment can cover more of children’s major illnesses, and also hope doctors can spend more of their energy on improving their skills. But of course, what we hope more is for society to exercise greater discretion when it comes to the morality of premarital sex, on the responsibility of parents, and on the examinations and choices of good bearing and rearing of children, so that we do not personally cause a life of misery for our children!
If it wasn’t because there weren’t any other options, who would be willing to give away their own children?! That mother was right: I just want him to survive. Sending her child to Safety Island is also a mother’s love. She’s still a great mother, even if she had to part with her child!
Comments from Sina:
Truth is, many abandoned babies suffer from some kind of illness, where the medical expenses are too high, and the parents are unable to afford it, left with no choice but to abandon them. If China’s healthcare system doesn’t reform, [social] upheaval truly will occur!
These children are sufferers of major illnesses, and the expenses for a child like this far exceed the expenses of 10 even 20 normal children. This is the result of shortcomings in our social security systems for major illnesses. Sending [these children] to such emergency relief stations allows them to get free treatment, and a sliver of hope for survival. Otherwise, they’d just be waiting to die. I hope our country can put “social support fees” to good use, as opposed to lining the pockets of corrupt officials.
Looking at the last picture, “The Dividing Line of Fate–An Abandoned Feeding Bottle Among Fallen Leaves”, I cried. Doesn’t this precisely depict these abandoned babies’ fates?
Poor parents. The lack of a system for providing support to sick and disabled children.
The poorer people are, the more they have children, and the more children they have, the poorer they become.
Comments from QQ:
My son is 3 years old now, has cerebral palsy. We too considered giving him up at a baby box. But we just couldn’t bear to do it. I can’t bear to think of the helplessness of a child without parents. So I’ll just endure the hardship [for my son’s sake]. I sincerely hope all children’s parents can be as strong as I am, carrying on the hope in our children’s hearts.
China has money to lend to America, but doesn’t have money to help the impoverished common people, and even confiscates their land by force. Corrupt officials and unscrupulous businessmen in collusion, robbing and killing people, totally lawless! Ding my comment up to 5,000 times, and I’ll become a thug [killer], to kill all of China’s corrupt officials. I’ll do what I say. [28,784 upvotes at time of translation]
My son was born with a cleft palate, and without surgery, he probably won’t even be able to speak clearly. His mother divorced me, but I must give him the surgery when he’s about 3 years old, give him a healthy future. I won’t abandon him, I won’t give up! My son, you dad will always love you!
Comments from NetEase:
The news is saying [the Baby Safety Island project is on halt due to] lack of funds and lack of beds. Then, may I ask, what has the country done with each year’s One-Child Policy violation fees? You may say it has been spent on feasting and drinking [by government officials], but this trend has already been prohibited, and the Three Public Funds [funds covering government officials' international business travel, vehicle purchasing and usage, and entertainment expenses] have been lessened a great deal as well. Can a just a tiny bit of this money be taken out to support us ordinary common people? To allow this baby hatch [program] that is i line with international practice continue operating? I hereby entreat the relevant leaders, you live in high places, the life of the common people of our country should be of your utmost concern!!
Editor [moderator/censors] of NetEase:
What I write here today, regardless of whether it is reasonable or not, I hope you can present it to the eyes of the people. These people’s children are nonetheless children. And I am a very specialized expert in many professions. Not all the illnesses were developed in their mothers’ wombs. These wu mao, with no medical knowledge whatsoever, are intentionally shifting people’s attention. In fact, Chinese parents value their children even more than foreign parents. It is only when they are extremely desperate will they give away their children, and only out of hope that the children can thus survive.
In a country where even catching a cold can cost thousands of kuai to treat, can you say these parents can really afford the expenses of treating these illnesses? Our country every year levies so many taxes on various things from us, and they spend it all on real estate. If they could take out 1% of those funds, it would be more than enough for the medical expenses of all 1.4 billion people throughout the country. The trillions of assets corrupt officials embezzle every year, would be enough for all the expenses of all the ordinary common people of China.
But in a crooked time like this, as long as it involves the welfare of the people even in the slightest, [the government will claim that] they don’t have the money. But when it comes to giving money to foreign countries, to corrupt officials, to unexplained government vehicle expenses and the like, it can cost trillions a year and the money is always enough. As long as it involves the people, [they’ll say that they] don’t have any. Is this normal?
I’m not afraid, go ahead and “send a delivery” [similar to "checking the water meter"], I just hope the editor can let my comment be seen, if you really are human. But of course if you’re not, then there’s nothing I can say!
Proving that regular health examinations before pregnancy is still necessary…
If it’s not for the times are tough, which parents would give away their children? And, pre-marriage health examinations [for diseases] are very important, because whatever the reason, the ones who are hurt in the end are always the children…