An 88 year-old Chinese woman who is dying of kidney failure is being hailed as a hero for her lifelong work of rescuing abandoned children.
The Daily Mail is reporting on a woman named Lou Xiaoying of Jinhua, in the eastern Zhejiang province, who managed to raise more than 30 abandoned Chinese babies while living on little more than what she and her husband could make by recycling rubbish.
Lou and her late husband Li Zin, who died 17 years ago, had one child of their own and kept four of the children they rescued, giving the others to friends and family who raised them as their own.
Her youngest child, a boy named Zhang Qilin, was found in a dustbin by Lou when she was 82. The child is now seven years old.
“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.”
Lou began rescuing babies back in 1972 when she found a little girl while 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 realized 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.”
Word of Lou’s amazing work has spread throughout China where she has become a kind of folk hero.
“She is shaming to governments, schools and people who stand by and do nothing,” said one admirer to the Mail. “She has no money or power but she saved children from death or worse. In the 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.”
Unfortunately there are far too many abandoned babies in China where a stringent one-child-only policy has cut short the lives of millions of infants. Many who do survive are abandoned by their impoverished families who cannot afford to feed them, let alone pay the heavy penalties imposed on families who have more than their quota of one child.
The latest victim of this policy was discovered just last week in a garbage bin. A newborn baby girl with a slit throat was found alive by local residents and was rushed to a local hospital where she remains in critical condition.