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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Abandoned newborns' shelter sparks debate

By Xu Wei and He Dan (China Daily)

08:36, March 02, 2012

Yang Li, an employee of the Shijiazhuang Social Welfare Institute, carries a 1-month-old abandoned baby out of the "safe haven" set up by the institute on June 1, in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, on Thursday. (China Daily/Feng Yongbin)

SHIJIAZHUANG - A child welfare institute in the capital of North China's Hebei province has provided the mainland's first safe haven for abandoned newborns, an act that sparked heated debate among child welfare promoters and legal experts.

The safe haven, located outside the gate of Shijiazhuang Social Welfare Institute, is a cabin-shaped shelter designed to protect babies who have been left in the care of the institute.

Qin Bo, an official at the institute, explained its decision to set up the shelter.

"For many years, infants were dropped off outside the gates of the welfare institute and the drop-off locations extended to streets 100 meters away," Qin said.

"We gave serious thought to what we could do to improve the situation, and that's how the safe haven was invented."

The safe haven, with an incubator and air extractor inside, cost the welfare institute 100,000 yuan ($15,900), but Qin believes the investment is well justified.

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