by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 28, 2013
A newborn baby boy was rescued from a sewage pipe in a Chinese apartment building after becoming stuck down a toilet, local police said Tuesday, in a case that provoked a shocked online reaction.
The mother of the baby, 22 and unmarried, hid her pregnancy from neighbours for fear of being ostracised, a police officer in Jinhua in the eastern province of Zhejiang, told AFP.
She gave birth unexpectedly when she went to the lavatory on Saturday, and the newborn fell into the squat toilet, said the officer, who declined to be named.
The mother telephoned her landlord, claiming she heard "weird noises" in the pipe, and the proprietor called in police after spotting the infant.
Attempts to pull him out failed, so rescuers sawed away a section of the 10-centimetre (four-inch) diameter conduit with the baby inside and took him to a local hospital, according to Chinese media reports.
Firefighters and doctors spent nearly an hour taking the tube apart piece by piece with pliers and saws and finally recovered the newborn, whose placenta was still attached, the reports said.
From the time he was found until when he was taken out, the baby was stuck in the tube for two to three hours, according to the policeman.
"The woman was on the scene during the entire rescue process... and admitted (she was the mother) when we asked her," he said, adding they were still looking for the boy's father.
"We need further investigations to find out if she had any malicious intentions" before deciding whether the young mother would be charged, he added.
The 2.3-kilogram (five-pound) boy suffered some cuts to his face and limbs and was put in an incubator at the hospital, according to earlier reports -- which alleged the newborn had been deliberately dumped down the toilet.
According to the officer his condition had improved. "The baby is very healthy now and can be released from the hospital," he said.
But the mother was in a serious condition due to complications from the delivery, he added.
The incident triggered hundreds of thousands of comments on China's hugely popular weibos, services similar to Twitter, with users astonished by the circumstances and expressing good wishes for the baby.
"What? A baby was dropped in a toilet pipe? It goes beyond my imagination," said a user with the pseudonym Long Live Little D.
Another user, If-Free, said watching the rescue left her distraught.
"Seeing the little one wriggling and groaning as the pipe was torn apart bit by bit wrings my heart... You've lived through the hardest moment in your life and your future will definitely be smooth," she wrote.
Chinese babies born out of wedlock are sometimes abandoned because of social and financial pressures. The country's one-child policy can also mean heavy fines for couples who have more than one baby.
China officials probed for 'parading' arrested girl: media
A party secretary in Kele, in the southern province of Guizhou, and a policeman were being investigated over the matter, the Global Times said.
Rao Yao was accused of deliberately splashing "dirty water" on a government car, drenching another local official, after a row about her family's street stall, the Sichuan Daily reported.
Party secretary Yuan Zehong ordered the girl arrested and told more than 30 policemen to "beat up" her aunt after she protested at the handcuffing, claimed a post on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like social messaging service.
It included photos of the incident and alleged that Rao had been made to walk for 20 minutes in public while wearing the handcuffs.
According to the Sichuan Daily, officials accused the girl's father Rao Fugui of making up the accusations because of a long-running dispute over the market where he works.
He was quoted by the Beijing News Wednesday as saying that his daughter was illegally detained for 12 hours, although it also cited him as saying she was only transferred between two vehicles during the April incident, rather than paraded.
Nonetheless many netizens were outraged. "Now a 13-year-old is being cuffed and paraded? What's wrong with this country?" asked Vivian Panda on her Weibo account.
Another netizen, Liu Tong, a media businessman with more than three million followers, quoted new President Xi Jinping's oft-cited but largely undefined slogan of a "Chinese Dream".
"There are some people in this country who become others' punchbags and their biggest Chinese dream is simply to live with a bit more dignity," he said.
China News from SinoDaily.com
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