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21 dead babies dumped in east China river, some in “hospital waste” bags

Posted by Author on March 31, 2010

Jane Macartney, Beijing , The Times, Mar. 31, 2010-

Jining City, Shangdong Province, China

The bodies of 21 babies who apparently died in hospital have been found in a river in eastern China.

Residents made the discovery on Monday while some of them were fishing in the river near a bridge in Shandong province. One man told a local television station: “We noticed that something had been washed up against the bank. At first I though they must be plastic dolls. But when I got closer I saw they were real babies.”

Another resident gestured to a tiny body, wearing only a nappy, lying on the muddy bank. “I couldn’t believe that they were real but they were. And as I walked along I saw more and more.”

At first they saw only eight corpses but they found more when they scoured the river. Several were in plastic bags. By Tuesday morning local authorities had found 21 dead infants.

Local police and health officials said that they had started an investigation and several staff from the Jining hospital had been suspended. Two mortuary workers were reported to have been detained yesterday.

It is not known how many of the babies were girls or boys and what the motive for dumping the bodies was. Eight of the babies had pale green hospital tags looped around their ankles. These identified three as having been admitted to the emergency room of the Jining Medical College Hospital and five as being cared for in the same hospital. The 13 other bodies had no form of identification.

Another villager said: “The ones in the bags are very small but look at that baby. It must be at least three months old. It measures 60cm (24in) and you can see that it even has hair.”

Some of the babies were jumbled together on the bank in yellow plastic bags stamped with the words “hospital waste”. One girl lay on her back with her romper suit torn in half and covered in mud.

A villager bent over one body to show the hospital tag taped to the ankle. He said: “This is a baby boy. His name is given as Man Hongmei and he was born in April 2009.” The tag carried his mother’s name and his weight and size at birth.

Residents complained that the dumping of the bodies risked contaminating their drinking water from the river as well as their duck farms. One middle-aged man said: “Whoever did this has no morals.”

The local authorities collected the bodies yesterday morning, gathering up more from the river and bringing them to the bank in the carrier bags in which they had been thrown away.

A television presenter attacked those responsible. He said: “Where do these babies come from? From which damned hospital? Why do I say hospital? Because they were thrown out as hospital waste.”

In an unusually emotional outburst for Chinese television, he said: “These infants never had a chance to walk on this earth and that is already their tragedy. But shouldn’t you then dispose of them properly instead of just tossing them out? These people have the hearts of dogs. They are hateful and contemptible.”

The Times

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