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Couple leaves dead infant at 'safe haven'

Shanghai Daily, February 25, 2014 Adjust font size:

A dead baby was left in a "safe haven" for unwanted children in Guangzhou, capital of the southern Guangdong Province, over the weekend.

Police are trying to establish who left the newborn's body at the Children's Social Welfare Home, Guangzhou Daily reported yesterday.

They did not say whether the child was a boy or a girl.

A man and woman were seen arriving in a taxi at 12:40pm on Sunday and dropping off a red paper bag before leaving by taxi.

A security guard went to tell them they shouldn't be leaving a child there during the day, but only saw the taxi driving off.

The guard called an ambulance to check on the baby.

Doctors said the child, who was several days old, was dead before being dropped off, the newspaper reported.

Police have been given surveillance camera footage of the incident and are treating it as a malicious act.

Lawyer Zhu Yihua said parents who do not seek emergency treatment for children with severe medical conditions can face between three and seven years in jail.

If an autopsy shows the abandoned baby had been suffering from a life-threatening illness the parents could face criminal charges, Zhu said.

Orphanage director Xu Jiu said the facility is meant to receive youngsters only between 7pm and 7am.

This is to protect the privacy of parents who have no option but to leave their kids, he said.

"We opened the safe haven to save babies, not encourage people to dump them," Xu said.

Since the safe haven opened on January 28, more than 100 children have been left there.

Most were diagnosed with conditions such as cerebral palsy, congenital heart disease, Down's syndrome and cleft palates, Xu said.

The safe haven program was launched by the Ministry of Civil Affairs to provide shelter for unwanted children.

A total of 30 cities were nominated to take part.

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