Govt bans private adoptions of abandoned infants

Updated: 2013-06-18 09:33


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BEIJING - Individuals and groups are banned from secretly adopting abandoned infants, a joint circular from multiple Chinese government departments has outlined.

The circular, with specific instructions on transferring, settling and treating abandoned infants, requires local residential committees and police organs to be immediately told if such a child is found, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, one of seven ministerial departments issuing the document.

"Adopting and handling abandoned infants at one's own will is forbidden," the circular said.

The circular comes after cases of children being abandoned or unsupervised in China, prompting questions over young Chinese people's sense of guardianship as well as calls to better protect minors.

In May, a newborn baby fell into a sewer pipe after his mother gave birth at a squat toilet.

The 22-year-old unmarried mother had kept her pregnancy secret, and the police, after initial investigations, deemed the incident an accident. According to local authorities, the boy, suffering cuts to his face and limbs, left hospital under the care of his mother and relatives after the incident.

Police departments should make efforts to find the biological parents or other guardians of an abandoned infant, according to the circular. If the police fail to find the guardians they have to provide official proof and transfer the child to a government-sanctioned nursing home for temporary care.

Meanwhile, these homes should release parent-seeking bulletins as soon as possible, and, only when no guardian shows up after a certain period, take these children under official care.

According to the circular, people intending to adopt an abandoned baby must first go through official channels and meet all requirements, and those who use abandoned children for illegal and profitable ends will be severely punished.

The circular also stipulates to prioritize body checks of abandoned infants as well as ensuring treatment if required.