The truly inspiring story of the Chinese rubbish collector who saved and raised THIRTY babies abandoned at the roadside
Lou Xiaoying has been praised in China for saving more than 30 abandoned babies over the years
A woman has been hailed a hero after details of her astonishing work with abandoned children has emerged.
Lou Xiaoying, now 88 and suffering from kidney failure, found and raised more than 30 abandoned Chinese babies from the streets of Jinhua, in the eastern Zhejiang province where she managed to make a living by recycling rubbish.
She and her late husband Li Zin, who died 17 years ago, kept four of the children and passed the others onto friends and family to start new lives.
Her youngest son Zhang Qilin – now aged just seven – was found in a dustbin by Lou when she was 82.
“Even though I was already getting old I could not simply ignore the baby and leave him to die in the trash. He looked so sweet and so needy. I had to take him home with me,” she said.
“I took him back to our home, which is a very small modest house in the countryside and nursed him to health. He is now a thriving little boy, who is happy and healthy.
“My older children all help look after Zhang Qilin, he is very special to all of us. I named him after the Chinese word for rare and precious.
“The whole thing started when I found the first baby, a little girl back in 1972 when I was out collecting rubbish. She was just lying amongst the junk on the street, abandoned. She would have died had we not rescued her and taken her in.
“Watching her grow and become stronger gave us such happiness and I realised I had a real love of caring for children.
“I realised if we had strength enough to collect garbage how could we not recycle something as important as human lives,” she explained.
“These children need love and care. They are all precious human lives. I do not understand how people can leave such a vulnerable baby on the streets.
Lou is now dying from kidney failure. She is pictured here with two of the children she helped rescued
Lou, left, caring her the babies with her husband Li Zin. She would give them to friends and family after she rescued them
Lou, who has one biological daughter, Zhang Caiying and now aged 49, devoted her life to looking after the abandoned babies.
Wordof her kind-hearted gestures has now spread in China, where thousands of babies are abandoned on the streets by their poverty stricken parents.
One fan explained: “She is shaming to governments, schools and people who stand by and do nothing. She has no money or power but she saved children from death or worse.”
“Inthe local community she is well known and well respected for her work with the abandoned babies. She does her best. She is a local hero. But unfortunately there are far too many abandoned babies in China who have no hope of survival.
Only last week there was news of a baby lucky to be alive after having its throat cut and then put in a plastic bag and thrown in a dustbin at Anshan city, in northeast China’s Liaoning province.
The baby – a girl – was thought to be a victim of the country”s one child policy where parents restricted to only having a single child prefer boys and girls are unwanted and often discarded.
Lou, who is now in hospital, has become iconic in her village and people have said she puts the government and other officials to shame
A little boy who was found abandoned by Lou is now cared for by her older children. The family have little money but still managed to save dozens of children
Lou made a living from collecting and recycling rubbish, she said that she would never leave the children after coming across them, abandoned
Infanticide of “guilt children” is still a problem in rural areas but it is rare in cities, where children are usually abandoned but not killed.
The baby”s fate has horrified China. The tot was spotted when a passerby went to throw some rubbish in the bin the and saw what he thought was a dead baby in the bag.
He told police that the child was purple and had not moved until he examined the bag more closely.
A resident who witnessed the girl being taken to hospital said: “She was still breathing and had a heartbeat. Blood from the wound stained the whole body.”
Doctors said that if the baby had been left in the bag a few minutes longer she would have died of suffocation and it had already been affected by the lack of oxygen hence the purple colour.
They said that the baby had been born premature and was probably between 32 and 34 weeks old and weighing just 1.4 kg.
A medic said that if the cut had been just a millimetre deep in the baby would have died.
The premature baby was found in a bin, with placenta and umbilical cord still attached, in Anshan city in northeast China
PREVENTING MORE THAN 400 MILLION BIRTHS WITH CONTROVERSIAL RULE
The painted sign reads, “It is forbidden to discriminate against, mistreat or abandon baby girls”
China”s controversial “policy of birth planning” was introduced in 1978 to reduce the strain on the country”s burgeoning population and reduce the strain on resources.
It officially restricts married, urban couples to having one child and those who break the rules have to pay a fine or fee.
Those who stick to the rules are usually awarded a certificate and can benefit financially, such as receiving an additional month”s salary every year until the child turns 14.
The policy allows exemptions in some cases – including rural couples, couples without siblings on either side, and ethnic minorities.
Residents of Hong Kong and Macau are exempt from the policy, as are foreign nationals living in China.
Certain rural parts of the country allow couples to have a second child if the first born is a girl but many parents feel pressured to produce an heir and end up abandoning the females.
If the second child is also a girl, no more children are allowed. It is extremely rare to find a family that has two sons.
The Chinese government claims that the policy has probably prevented more than 400 million births and in 2010 it was reported that for every 120 boys born there are 100 girls.
Critics inside China and around the world have condemned the policy and accused the government of enforcing abortions.
Despite the fact that it is illegal to kill newborn babies in the country, female infanticide and the failure to report female births is widely suspected, especially in rural areas.
An international conference on human rights, held ten years before the policy was introduced, proclaimed: “Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and the spacing of their children.”
Despite this, an independent 2008 survey reported that 76 per cent of the Chinese population supported the policy.