Downblog, Ajay compared the state of jobbery in contemporary China to 18th century Britain. Moving on a hundred or so years, here's a decidedly Victorian account of China's private orphanages: half baby-farming, half mad cat ladies:
Yuan Lihai, a mother of two sons and one daughter, adopted her first child in 1987. She opened a fruit stall nearby the local people's hospital, and sometimes moonlighted as a care worker in the hospital. One day, she was paid 20 yuan ($3.2) by a doctor to bury a "dead baby boy" born with a cleft lip.
The abandoned baby suddenly cried out in Yuan's arms, very much alive, and became the first child she adopted.
Yuan carefully took care of it, and she soon garnered fame as a "foster mother" with more and more children being sent to her.
Abandoning unwanted children, especially the disabled and the ill, was once common in Lankao.
"It was catastrophic for a family to have a disabled or severely ill baby. It would cost tens of thousands of yuan to treat the child, and not many families in Lankao could bear that expense," Feng Xiaoyu, a taxi driver, told the Global Times.
Lankao, a poverty-stricken county with a population of 760,000, had no orphanages or welfare houses.
A lot of this is down to the hukou system, which not only nails people to their place of origin but does so partly by nailing them to whatever welfare benefits are available there: it's the parish system, 21st century style. Something to think about for advocates of localisation.