New rules for disposing of dead babies in China

Last Updated: Sunday, April 4, 2010 - 19:13

Beijing: The government in China`s Jining
city Sunday announced new regulations to pay for the disposal
of bodies of babies after 21 infants were found abandoned by
their parents.

If hospitals cannot find a dead baby`s guardian or if
the guardian cannot afford the transportation and cremation,
the government will pay the fees so that inappropriate
disposal of the corpse can be prevented, according to a
regulation published Sunday.

It is China`s first regulation on dealing with bodies
of babies, Xinhua news agency said.

The regulation came after the dumping of 21 baby
bodies and foetuses in a river in Jining last week sparked
public criticism. Eight of the 21 bodies had tabs with clinic
code numbers attached to their feet, it reported.

The tabs showed the bodies were from the affiliated
hospital of Jining Medical University.

Mortuary workers Zhu Zhenyu and Wang Zhijun have been
sacked by the hospital and detained by police for allegedly
reaching verbal agreements with the relatives of the dead
babies to dispose of the bodies for a fee, said Gong Zhenhua,
a city government spokesman.

They allegedly transported the bodies secretly to the
Guangfu River, but they had failed to bury the bodies

In some parts of China, especially in poor rural
areas, parents are reluctant to take baby bodies home for a
funeral. They would rather dump the body in a corner of the
hospital or pay someone to bury it, said Ma Guanghai, deputy
dean at Shandong University`s School of Philosophy and Social

According to analysts, China`s "one-child"
family-planning rules has been blamed for fuelling abortions
in particular of female foetuses, where boys are traditionally

China had no legal status for a dead foetus, so it was
not appropriate to classify it as "medical waste," said Cao
Yongfu, deputy director of the Medical Ethics Institute at
Shandong University.

He said regulations must be introduced as soon as
possible to determine the legal status of infant bodies.

Regulations that clarified procedures for dealing with
the bodies in a respectful manner was needed, the news agency
quoted him as saying.


First Published: Sunday, April 4, 2010 - 19:13

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