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Zhejiang newborn's toilet fall remains hot topic


08:08, May 31, 2013

Key Words:newborn; toilet pipe;pipe baby

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HANGZHOU, May 30 (Xinhua) -- The fall of a newborn baby into a sewer pipe after his mother gave birth while sitting on a toilet continues to excite discussion in China, after authorities confirmed the boy has left hospital in Zhejiang Province.

The baby boy, dubbed "number 59" by nurses, left hospital on Wednesday evening in the care of his relatives, local authorities said on Thursday.

The local publicity department and police said the infant's 22-year-old mother, as well as his grandparents and the man purported to be the child's father, will take care of the child.

However, the alleged father said he intends to verify whether the child is actually his or not.

Police have initially determined that the child's fall into the sewer pipe last week was an accident, and the 22-year-old woman who gave birth unexpectedly will not be charged.

The baby's unmarried mother, who had kept her pregnancy secret, was said to have given birth to the baby on Saturday in a squat toilet in the apartment block where she lives in Pujiang County of Jinhua City, according to police.

According to Zhang Jianbo, director of Punan police station, the woman said in response to questioning that she rushed to the toilet after she began to experience stomach pains and subsequently gave birth to the baby.

Police records showed that the woman tried to grab the newborn but his fluid-covered body was too slippery and she let the baby slide into the sewage through the hole of the toilet.

She then raised an alarm with the landlord and suggested that the landlord and others come to assist, the records said.

But during the two hours it took for firefighters and doctors to use pliers and saws to successfully rescue the infant from the U-shaped pipe in which it was stuck, the woman remained silent out of concern she would lose eligibility to keep the baby, according to the police.

The boy, whose placenta was still attached when he was retrieved from the pipe at 6:03 p.m. on Saturday, suffered some cuts to his face and limbs and was put in an incubator at the Pujiang People's Hospital.

Zhang said the police questioning has concluded with evidence supporting the woman's claims, but further investigation will continue.

The case has sparked speculation as well as sympathy on the Internet, with some lamenting lax moral education toward sexual behavior while others have urged legislation to be introduced to better protect minors.

Pictures showing the rescue on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo have also inspired strangers to visit Pujiang People's Hospital with milk powder, clothes and offers of adoption.

Zhong Qi, associate researcher with the sociology institution at the Zhejiang Academy of Social Sciences (ZASS), said that it is notable from sporadic cases of newborn babies being abandoned or mistreated in China that many young unmarried people lack a sense of responsibility in this regard.

Yang Jianhua, director of the Research Institution of ZASS, said the case exposed weaknesses in public civil education, especially in the attitude toward marriage and bearing a child.

"Society, family and relevant government departments are all to be held accountable for this case," said Yang, adding that the young couple themselves have not truly realized the outcome that might be brought about by their indiscreet affairs.

Yang also suggested that more efforts from communities, family planning departments and education authorities in providing training are required in dealing with potential social issues as more young people migrate from the countryside to seek jobs in cities.

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