Boy, 4, abandoned in Zhejiang kindergarten

The four-year-old boy, seen here, was abruptly abandoned by his parents on Wednesday (May 16). PHOTO: QIANJIANG EVENING NEWS

A four-year-old boy from Zhejiang, China, was abandoned by his parents after the breakdown of their marriage, reported Chinese news website Sixth Tone.

Citing local media reports, the website added that the boy's father took him to kindergarten on Tuesday (May 16) morning and never returned to pick him up.

Attempts by kindergarten teachers to reach his parents were initially unsuccessful.

Malaysian newspaper Sin Chew Daily reported that a large bundle of winter clothes were found in the boy's schoolbag.

This raised the suspicions of his teachers further and their worst fears were confirmed when they took the boy home, only to find an empty, locked house.

Local police were called in to locate the parents, successfully tracking them down on the third day of abandonment.

But the boy's mother, who escaped the family home, told them she feared violent reprisal from his father if she took him back.

The boy's father, who had returned to his hometown in Guizhou by then, also told the police he would not look after the child without help from his wife.

While teachers knew of the parents' recent separation, local media reported, they were nonetheless shocked when neither came to pick up their son.

"The boy was absent from school from time to time, for two days or a week. His father would occasionally take him to look for his mother," said Ms Zhao, the kindergarten's director.

She has taken the boy into her care in the meantime.

"Most of the time, the child stays silent, trying not to show emotion," she added.

In China, people who abandon a child, an elderly person, or a sick person with no ability to survive independently can be jailed for up to five years.

But Beijing social worker Li Zikun noted that China has no dedicated facilities to help abandoned children whose parents are alive.

He added that despite the law, parents are seldom punished for such abandonment, as Chinese police tend to prefer issuing verbal warnings that bear no legal consequences.

Meanwhile, the kindergarten is still waiting for updates from the local police.

Both parents have reneged on a promise to the local police that they would return to pick up their son as of Monday.