China: Cop Breastfed Earthquake Orphans
- New mother feeds babies separated from parents by disaster.
She's proclaimed as hero, but says it's "not worth mentioning."
Newspaper headline hails her as "China's Mother No. 1"
Officer breast-feeds quake orphans
JIANGYOU, China (CNN) -- A Chinese police officer is being hailed as
a hero after taking it upon herself to breast-feed several infants
who were separated from their mothers or orphaned by China's
Police officer Jiang Xiaojuan, 29, was feeding nine babies at one
Officer Jiang Xiaojuan, 29, the mother of a 6-month-old boy,
responded to the call of duty and the instincts of motherhood when
the magnitude-7.9 quake struck on May 12.
"I am breast-feeding, so I can feed babies. I didn't think of it
much," she said. "It is a mother's reaction and a basic duty as a
police officer to help."
The death toll in the earthquake jumped Thursday to more than
51,000, and more than 29,000 are missing, according to government
figures. Thousands of children have been orphaned; many others have
mothers who simply can't feed them.
At one point, Jiang was feeding nine babies.
"Some of the moms were injured; their fathers were dead ... five of
them were orphans. They've gone away to an orphanage now," she said.
Watch the officer care for babies
She still feeds two babies, including Zhao Lyuyang, son of a woman
who survived the quake but whose breast milk stopped flowing because
of the traumatic conditions.
"We walked out of the mountains for a long time. I hadn't eaten in
days when I got here, and my milk was not enough," said that mother,
Zhao Zong Jun. "She saved my baby. I thank her so much. I can't
express how I feel."
Liu Rong, another mother whose breast milk stopped in the trauma,
was awed by Jiang's kindness.
"I am so touched because she has her own baby, but she fed the
disaster babies first," Liu said. "If she hadn't fed my son, he
wouldn't have had enough to eat."
Jiang has became a celebrity, followed by local media and proclaimed
on a newspaper front page as "China's Mother No. 1." She's
embarrassed by the fuss.
"I think what I did was normal," she said. "In a quake zone, many
people do things for others. This was a small thing, not worth
There has been a huge outpouring of support from families who want
to adopt babies orphaned by the quake. But that process takes time,
and there are mouths to feed.
Jiang misses her own son, who's being cared for through the
emergency by in-laws in another town, but she is aware of the new
connections she's made.
"I feel about these kids I fed just like my own. I have a special
feeling for them. They are babies in a disaster."
Death toll leaps 10,000 in a day
4,000 quake orphans so far, China says
MIANYANG, China (AP) -- Last week's deadly earthquake in China has
created more than 4,000 orphans, a Chinese official said.
Young earthquake survivors attend a mental and psychological therapy
class in Mianyang, China, on Wednesday.
more photos » But Chen Kefu, the deputy director for civil affairs
in hard-hit Sichuan province, warned at a news conference Wednesday
that it will take time to determine the real number of parentless
children because of the large number of people still missing and
The May 12 quake has killed more than 41,000 people and left more
than 5 million homeless.
Thousands of Chinese have called government offices and posted their
pleas online to adopt an orphan from the quake.
"Every day my ministry receives hundreds of calls," Jiang Li,
China's vice minister of civil affairs, told a news conference
The earthquake also robbed many parents of their children, many of
whom were killed when their schools collapsed. Chinese newspapers
ran photos of piles of dusty bookbags and of small hands emerging
from the rubble.
But officials say adoptions won't begin until the earthquake-
affected area is brought under order. Until then, local governments
will take care of the orphans.
"We've received many inquiries about adoptions, but at present it's
simply too early since we're still in the rescue and recovery
stage," said Wang Jun of the Chinese Foundation for Poverty
Alleviation, who's handling orphan issues in the city of Deyang on
the edge of the quake zone.
Officials are first scrambling to reunite children with family
members. Newspapers have run children's photos and names, asking the
public for help.
Posters with similar information has been posted at the sports
stadium in the city of Mianyang, which has turned into a massive
relief camp for thousands of survivors.
China is the top source of foreign adopted children in the United
States, and many Americans have already contacted adoption agencies
about earthquake orphans.
However, "I think the Chinese government will start with domestic
adoption first," said Joshua Zhong, the co-founder and president of
the U.S.-based Chinese Children Adoption International.
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