A newborn boy is recovering in hospital after being dumped in a sewer pipe below a Chinese public toilet.
Firefighters sawed off a section of the three-inch wide pipe and then delicately dismantled it to free the baby after a tenant heard its cries in the toilet of a residential building in Zhejiang province in eastern China.
The child — named Baby No 59 from the number of his hospital incubator — is now recovering in a nearby hospital.
News of the rescue prompted an outpouring from strangers who arrived with nappies, baby clothes, powdered milk and offers to adopt the child.
The baby weighed 6.2lb and still had his placenta attached, reports said. His heart rate was low and there were grazes on his head and limbs, but he was largely unscathed, according to Zhejiang Online, the province’s news agency.
From the time he was found until he was rescued, the baby was stuck in the tube for at least two hours.
It was not clear how he ended up in the toilet, but police said they were treating the case as an attempted homicide. They said the boy’s mother had been found and that an investigation is ongoing.
In China’s popular Twitter-like microblogs, most expressed pity for the child and horror at his ordeal. Most bloggers speculated the child had been abandoned by his parents and dumped down the toilet.
“I can never accept or forgive the behaviour of dumping the baby with his placenta and umbilical cord attached into the toilet pipe,” wrote a user with the online handle Jiding Jiajia.
“Can these people be called human beings? The animal to human ratio among the grown-ups is rising inexorably.”
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.
The policy has been blamed as a factor causing parents to abandon unwanted children, although they are usually baby girls whose parents want sons due to a traditional preference for male heirs.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved