A Chinese project allowing people to abandon unwanted babies with no questions asked has been forced to close after it received more than 250 children in the first three months.
The idea of the baby flap or postbox, a place of safety as an alternative to babies being abandoned on the street, was reintroduced in Europe in Germany over a decade ago.
It was based on the medieval concept of foundling wheels, where babies could be left at a convent or monastery to be cared for if the parents were unable to do so.
But while European baby postboxes attract only a few cases a year across the entire continent, in China, where it is illegal to abandon children, they have been inundated with unwanted children.
One feature almost all of the abandoned babies have in common is that they are in some way either ill or disabled.
It includes children with cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome and congenital heart disease.
Xu Jiu added: “We have learned a lot from this even if we stop it now, it shows us that we need to offer better child welfare systems and in particular the assistance and support for families with severely disabled children.”