In an effort to deal with one of the worst social issues imaginable, Shenzhen is rolling out government-sponsored baby-abandonment stations. Will mothers be given meaningful financial assistance or advice? Well, no, but at least the kids will have somewhere to go.
Infant abandonment has become a significant problem in Shenzhen, and is intimately linked to crazy demographic imbalances due to the prevalence of migrant labor in the city, as South China Morning Post reports:
The baby shelter will cost about 150,000 yuan (HK$190,000) and be equipped with an incubator, cribs, a ventilator and other life-support equipment. It will be based near Shenzhen’s Welfare Centre, which has cared for more than 3,500 abandoned babies since it was set up in 1992. About 90 babies have been abandoned in the city so far this year, Xinhua reported last month. […]
David Xiao, a Shenzhen-based journalist who has interviewed migrants workers who have abandoned and even killed their babies, welcomed the opening of the shelter.
“Babies will continue to be abandoned in the city whether there’s a safe place for it or not,’’ he said. “But thanks to the programme, all unwanted children and their mothers can be given a second chance at life.’’
Xiao said that covering the cases of abandoned children had haunted him.
“I can’t forget these babies. They all looked little kittens and were dumped like a piece of rubbish,” he said. “Their mothers were migrant workers with poor education and salary. Most of them were also girls aged only about 18. They just delivered their child in a public toilet or on the stairs and left, or even strangled the baby to death right there.”
According to a survey conducted by Guangdong’s family planning department in 2011, over 50 per cent of women migrant workers in the province have premarital sex. Among them, 50 per cent to 60 per cent become pregnant at least once.
When a city’s priorities have to shift from “helping women” to “making sure abandoned babies don’t die in the streets,” something has gone terrible, horribly, wrong.
[Image on Xinhua, via SCMP]