Beijing: China has banned individuals and groups from secretly adopting abandoned infants, days after an unwed mother flushed her newborn child in a toilet sewer pipe.
An official circular from multiple Chinese government departments here has outlined specific instructions on transferring, settling and treating abandoned infants, requiring local residential committees and police when an abandoned child is found.
"Adopting and handling abandoned infants at one`s own will is forbidden," according to the circular, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
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 unmarried 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.
In January, an orphanage run by a street vendor came to light after seven children were killed in a fire accident.
Yuan Lihai, 48 in Lankao, Central China`s Henan Province had converted her home into an orphanage for the past 26 years, adopting over 100 abandoned children.
The fact that a poor street vendor was adopting abandoned children had stirred up public conscience. However, some people had accused her of selling the babies which she denied.
According to the new circular, police departments should make efforts to find the biological parents or other guardians of an abandoned infant.
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, it said.
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, the report said.
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.