Chinese state television reported that firefighters in eastern China have rescued a newborn baby boy lodged in a sewage pipe after being flushed down the toilet in an apartment building. The case has sparked fury on Chinese social media sites.
According to the BBC, China Daily reported that the baby was found inside a pipe 10 cm (4 inches) in diameter. The baby is believed to be only about two days old.
AFP reports that residents of an apartment building in Jinhua, in the wealthy coastal province of Zhejiang, alerted firefighters on Saturday afternoon after hearing infant cries from the squat lavatory located in the fourth floor of the building.
The footage (see YouTube video) from China's state television shows firefighters working to rescue the baby. According to state-run Zheijang News, the firefighters, unable to pull the baby out of the pipe, removed an L-shaped section and took it to the hospital where they worked with doctors for two hours cutting it away, piece by piece, painstakingly, with pliers and saws, until they rescued the baby alive with the placenta intact.
The baby boy, weighing 2.3 kg (five pounds), suffered cuts to his face and limbs. He is reportedly in stable condition and the police are looking for the parents, Chinese state television reported.
Reports of newborn babies abandoned are frequent in China. The incidence has been attributed to the country's strict family planning rules with its one-child policy. A family which violates the rule may face a fine. The rule is often complicated by social attitudes to baby girls. Young mothers under social-economic pressure lacking support often resort to abandoning their newborns. There is also a strong social stigma against babies born out of wedlock.
The incident, including the graphic images broadcast on state television, has sparked outrage in China's popular microblogging site Sina Weibo:
"The parents who did this have hearts even filthier than that sewage pipe."
"I can never accept or forgive the behaviour of dumping the baby with his placenta and umbilical cord attached into the toilet pipe."
"Can these people be called human beings? The animal to human ratio among the grown-ups is rising inexorably."
"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."