Baby Rescued From Sewage Pipe In China: It Doesn't Get Much More Shocking Than This Featured

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A baby was rescued from a sewer pipe below a toilet in Jinhua, China last Saturday. When first news of this incident hit the headlines my initial reaction was ‘there’s shoddy parenting and then there’s this’.

There’s times, I’m sure, when every parent would rather pop the blighter back in than deal with its incessant crying but (as I’m told) you just have to suck it up (the situation, not the baby!). It seemed there were some parents in China that didn’t read their parenting manuals as closely as they should have. I imagine the dummies guide to babies would read something like this:

Step 1: Feed your baby warm milk on regular intervals.

Step 2: Burp your baby if it starts to cry.

Step 3: Do not flush your baby down the toilet.

The papers were quick to cry homicide. I envisioned an evil mother, up to ears in nappies and generously splattered with baby puke, simply throwing her baby in the bog, flushing the chain then putting her feet up to catch the end of loose women. But as it turns out this wasn't the case. My notion of an unfit-for-purpose, and frankly, disgusting parent dissolved into an alone and frightened 22 year old woman as the mother spoke out about her ordeal.

The woman has claimed that after the baby’s father refused to stand by her throughout her pregnancy and she could not herself afford an abortion, she kept her pregnancy a secret. Thus the delivery of the baby was confined to her shared bathroom, in which the tragedy occurred: the baby boy slipped down the toilet and the terrified mother was unable to recover him. The woman is reportedly the same member of the public which called for help and remained throughout the 2 hour rescue. The baby is now reported to be doing well.

Although the credibility of this version of events is still under scrutiny, if this is indeed the case, we should surely spend less time condemning the mother for what was a tragic accident in a distressing situation and lament the fact that she came to find herself in this situation in the first place. The situation being that the groundless and outmoded stigma that is attached to the birth of children out of wedlock in China caused a frightened female, barely out of her teens, to bear this burden alone. The Guardian asserts more than 70% of China's young adults had had sex before marriage, but Chinese schools typically shied away from sex education and teaching about contraception for fear of appearing to condone premarital sex. Thus narrow-minded ideology forced a young, pregnant woman into a communal bathroom to give birth to her child alone. If the woman’s claims are true then the society, not the individual, caused this tragedy and thus the society, not the individual, should be condemned. 

Jacqueline Agate

I'm an English Literature and Language student at the University of Leeds, aspring to be a journalist. I also write for Leeds Student newspaper and Lippy: No Gloss magazine. Aside from writing, I love cooking, films and losing myself in a good book!

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