“Social problems in China won’t be reported or addressed until someone dies. How ironic it is!”
“The reality is many Chinese have never heard of pain-free childbirth. When you see those female celebrities appear in public shortly after giving birth as if nothing has happened, you know what is the difference between ordinary Chinese and those from the upper class.”
These are two representative comments (in Chinese) from Chinese social media in reaction to recent media coverage on childbirth in China, triggered by the tragic story of a young pregnant woman surnamed Ma, who jumped to her death after her husband and his family allegedly denied her a C-section.
In the debate raging over who’s to blame, thepaper.cn talked (in Chinese) to Duan Tao 段涛, former director of Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Health Hospital. Duan suggested that while epidurals have been available in China for about 20 years, they remain rare. Meanwhile 46.5 percent of births are by cesarean — the highest rate in the world, far above the World Health Organization’s suggested limit of 15 percent.
Duan attributed the low rates of epidurals to policy factors, and to the country’s lack of anesthesiologists. “An epidural doesn’t cost much. If a pregnant woman chooses to have an epidural and a C-section, the whole delivery process can be finished within half an hour,” Duan said. “But for pain-free natural birth, doctors and anesthesiologists should stand by for a couple of hours and the only thing they can charge for is the epidural. Given the labor cost, many hospitals are reluctant to offer pain-free delivery service to women giving natural birth.”
Meanwhile, Ma’s death continues to dominate the Chinese internet, as more revelations have surfaced and police investigations got underway. On Wednesday, the hospital where Ma was giving birth released another statement (in Chinese) that included a hospital record indicating that the husband’s family refused to give Ma a cesarean surgery despite the doctor’s recommendation, repeated three times, and some screenshots from hospital surveillance footage showing Ma walking out of the maternity ward and kneeling before her husband’s family. Hoping to refute Chinese internet users claims that the husband’s family denied Ma C-section to save money, Ma’s husband said (in Chinese) the accusation was groundless, noting that his family belongs to the middle class in his village, and owns a six-cave dwelling and a car.
Higher brothers are rapping their way to the top of the Chinese music scene / Nylon
“They’re definitely the first native-born, mainland group to break through to the West, and it makes a lot of young Chinese people proud,” said rapper Bohan Phoenix.
Homeschooling still illegal, warns Chinese government / Sixth Tone
Kidnappers? Crazy fans? No, it’s Chinese parents on their kids’ first day at school / What’s on Weibo
Teacher made to go door-to-door to apologize to students after slapping them in the face in class / Shanghaiist
Is there a price on Mars? China’s ‘space village’ to cost US$61m / SCMP
Number of mammal species in China reaches record level / SCMP
Secret tests expose that Beijing’s five-star luxury hotels do not change bed sheets / What’s on Weibo
Chinese teenagers sentenced to hard labor for bullying / BBC
On the street
Chengdu woman has had enough of shared bikes, takes them from sidewalk, throws them on street / Shanghaiist