From China Daily:
Mothers on the mainland, terrified of their babies becoming the next victims of the baby milk scandal, are turning to Hong Kong for safe food for their infants.
An official at the customs checkpoint in Luohu, which links Shenzhen and Hong Kong, told China Daily yesterday there has been a dramatic rise in the amount of baby formula being brought in from the special administrative region.
“There has been a huge increase in the number of mainlanders coming back from Hong Kong with milk powder,” the customs’ press officer Wang Jing said.
“Over the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, people were coming back with an average of two boxes, 12 cans, each, which is twice the average before the scandal.”
…Scratch the surface and China seems to have turned away from breastfeeding just as we in the United States have embraced it. In the ’40s and ’50s American women were inveigled to abandon the breast and replace it with formula. Science! in the form of milk powder and super nutrients would make baby strong! After a few decades, we’d junked those ideas and now in the 21st century we’ve re-embraced the breast. Just the opposite with the Chinese. In the ’40s and ’50s, breastfeeding was universal in China. The country was too poor to afford formula.
But as China grew richer in the ’70s and ’80s, its women turned away from breastfeeding. Now, according to the All-China Women’s Federation, only 47 percent of Chinese women breastfeed and most specialists think that the numbers are actually lower. One study noted that breastfeeding rates around Beijing were as low as 13.6 percent at four months in the 1990s down from more than 80 percent in early 1950s.
Despite a nationwide campaign to encourage breastfeeding, the same call — Science! — has convinced many to do away with the breast pump and embrace formula. In addition, the structure of the Chinese family — more working mothers, the babies raised by grandparents — makes the use of formula so much more convenient. And in this case so much more harmful to the poor children who drank the tainted brew from the Sanlu milk company.