Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
In this still image taken from video from Saturday May 25, 2013, rescue workers cut away the section of a sewage pipe where a newborn baby was trapped in Pujiang in east China's Zhejiang province. Chinese firefighters have rescued a newborn boy from a sewer pipe below a squat toilet, sawing out an L-shaped section and then delicately dismantling it to free the trapped baby, who greeted the rescuers with cries. A tenant heard the baby's sounds in the public restroom of a residential building in Zhejiang province in eastern China on Saturday and notified authorities, according to the state-run news site Zhejiang News. A video of the two-hour rescue that followed was broadcast widely on Chinese news programs and websites late Monday and Tuesday. (AP Photo)
Mother of Chinese newborn in sewer was present for rescue
First Published May 29 2013 12:05 pm • Last Updated May 29 2013 03:28 pm

BEIJING • The mother of the Chinese newborn trapped in a sewer pipe in a stunning ordeal caught on video had raised the initial alarm and was present for the entire two-hour rescue but did not admit giving birth until confronted by police, reports said Wednesday.

The state-run, Hangzhou-based newspaper Dushikuaibao said police became suspicious when they found baby toys and blood-stained toilet paper in the 22-year-old woman’s rented room in the building where Saturday’s rescue occurred in eastern China.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The woman, whose name was not revealed in state media reports, confessed to police when they asked her to undergo a medical checkup.

The woman told police she could not afford an abortion and secretly delivered the child Saturday afternoon in the toilet. She said she tried to catch the baby but he slipped into the sewer line and that she alerted her landlord of the trapped baby after she could not pull the child out, the Jinhua-based Zhezhong News said.

Video of the rescue of Baby No. 59 — so named because of his incubator number in the hospital — was shown on Chinese news programs and websites starting late Monday and picked up worldwide, prompting both horror and an outpouring of charity on behalf of the newborn. The mother’s reported confession raises questions about whether she intended to abandon the baby, while suggesting that she was desperate and did not know what to do.

Zhezhong News said the woman is a high school graduate who works at a restaurant in the Zhejiang province city of Jinhua. She said she became pregnant after a one-night stand with a man who later denied any responsibility. The woman did not reveal the pregnancy to her parents. She also said she wanted to raise the child but had no idea how to do it, according to local reports.

Firefighters were called to the residential building in the Pujiang area of Jinhua to rescue the baby, which was trapped in an L-shaped section of sewage pipe just below a squat toilet in one of the building’s public restrooms.

In the video, officials were shown removing the pipe from a ceiling that apparently was just below the restroom and then, at the hospital, using pliers and saws to gently pull apart the pipe, which was about 10 centimeters (about 3 inches) in diameter.

The baby, who weighed 2.8 kilograms (6 pounds, 2.8 ounces), had a low heart rate and some minor abrasions on his head and limbs, but was mostly unhurt, according to local reports. The placenta was still attached.

News of the baby’s ordeal was met with horror and pity by bloggers on Chinese sites. Most speculated that the child had been dumped by his parents down the toilet. The rescue prompted an outpouring from strangers who came to the hospital with diapers, baby clothes, powdered milk and offers to adopt him.


story continues below
story continues below

Dushikuaibao said the mother was present throughout the entire rescue and expressed her concern for the child, though that didn’t immediately rouse suspicion of the police.

Police initially said they were treating the case as possible attempted homicide, but it was not clear whether the mother would face criminal charges.

Local police refused to comment, saying the case is under further investigation.

In China, unwanted pregnancies have been on the rise because of a lack of sex education and an increasingly lax attitude toward sex. Young men and women often engage in unprotected sex, and abortions have become increasingly common, with abortion services widely available.

Sociologist Li Yinhe said more than 70 percent of China’s young adults have had premarital sex, but that Chinese schools typically shy away from sex education and teaching about contraception because teachers don’t want to appear to condone sex before marriage.

"The public also is very ambiguous over whether you are committing a murder when you kill an infant or abandon it," Li said.

The building’s landlord told local media earlier in the week that there were no signs that the birth took place in the restroom and she had not been aware of any recent pregnancies among her tenants.

The baby’s mother told police she cleaned up the toilet after the delivery and had managed to hide her pregnancy by wearing loose clothes and tightly wrapping her abdomen, Zhezhong News said.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.