(bad joke- sorry)
Rural traditions of abandoning dead infants because they're considered bad luck may have played a role in the case of 21 babies' bodies found along a river in eastern China, apparently dumped by hospital mortuary workers.
The little bodies — at least one stuffed in a yellow bag marked "" — were found floating and strewn along the bank of a river on the outskirts of Jining city in Shandong province last weekend.
Though China is infamous for its draconian one-child policy, this seems to have taken the proverbial cake. If one must dispose of the unwanted girl-baby, make sure no one sees.
One question that arose Wednesday was why would the parents of so many dead children simply abandon their remains?
Hospital procedures normally call for families to take away dead infants, the Shandong province-based Qilu Evening News reported. However, the death of a young child is considered bad luck among some rural families, and the body is often abandoned or buried in.
"According to customs in some places, dead infants are not considered to be a family member and will not be buried in family tombs," said Cao Yongfu, professor with Medical Ethic Institute of Shandong University.Some local customs go even further. When a baby dies, the family burns its clothes, toys and photos — anything that would remind them the child ever existed. The traditions stem from China's agrarian past, where child deaths were common, and not considered something to dwell on.
The grandness of multiculturalism.
Though the case has shocked the public, Cao said a more pressing issue was developing clear regulations on how the bodies of infants and fetuses should be disposed.
Because no one must know the terrible truth.
For a very telling narrative on the subject, see this:
I know a British couple with a Chinese daughter, pretty and fluent in English. Of course the little girl was adopted. It is necessary to steel one’s self against three agonising thoughts: how did such children come to be here, why does one never meet an adopted Chinese boy, and what does one reply when the adopted Chinese child asks, ‘Why did my real mother let me go?’
There is already substantial information on this subject, including television documentaries, none of it mentioned by Xinran. No one has exposed the scandal of Chinese orphanages, the starting point for the traffic in babies to foreigners — there are now well over 120,000 such children living abroad — better than the Scottish academic and journalist Robin Munro and it would make this troubling book even better had his exposés been noted by Xinran.But never mind. No bleaker picture exists of the fate of Chinese female infants, whether murdered at birth or abandoned, than Messages from an Unknown Chinese Mother. One woman’s story reveals this black mark in Chinese culture, both traditional and contemporary. She had lived and worked almost her entire life in orphanages, and told Xinran that little girls sometimes arrived there with scars between their legs. Oil lamps or candles had burned them.
The first thing the village midwives did when the baby was born was not to clear its airway but to check [by the light of the lamp or candle] whether it was a boy or girl, because that was what the family wanted to hear. Some of the burns were on the baby’s private parts …
After Robin Munro and others made public what they had seen and filmed in orphanages (some of them rightly termed ‘dying houses’), Beijing cracked down on those who had allowed such shameful practices to be discovered by foreigners. A furious official burst out to Xinran:
All these foreigners think about is making a ‘historical record’. They never consider Chinese people’s feelings. If I were a girl adopted abroad, I wouldn’t want people to know I had been picked up from some shambolic, godforsaken mountain village. It would be so humiliating.Mother love is supposed to be such a great thing, but so many babies are abandoned, and it’s their mothers who do it. They’re ignorant. They feel differently about emotions from the way you do. Where I come from, people talk about smothering a baby girl or just throwing it[!]into a stream … to be eaten by dogs, as if it were a joke. How much do you think these women loved their babies?
The young woman, a university graduate, wasn’t finished: