Beijing police are searching for the mother of a newborn baby girl who was apparently abandoned in a public toilet on Sunday.
State newspaper People's Daily reports that witnesses called officers to the toilet in the Chinese capital's Xicheng District after they heard crying. Police said the baby was inside the sewer of the squat toilet.
"The baby's head was upside down and the whole body has fallen into the sewer. I could vaguely saw the baby's feet from the side," police officer Qian Feng told the newspaper.
At first police thought they would have to destroy the toilet to reach the baby, but then Qian reached into the sewer and carefully pulled her to safety.
Video stills from the harrowing incident capture the moment when the policeman rescued the girl. Police believe the newborn's mother gave birth in the facility and then abandoned her.
The baby girl was taken to a Beijing hospital but did not appear to be injured.
An estimated 10,000 unwanted children are abandoned in China every year, Reuters reported in 2014. Although some are dropped off at "baby safety islands" and taken to orphanages, others are abandoned in public places such as toilets and train stations.
At one time, Chinese orphanages were mainly filled with unwanted girls, due to a cultural preference for boys under the country's one-child policy. Now, officials said, most abandoned babies are sick or disabled.
Last year, the body of a newborn girl was found in a public toilet in North Point, Shanghai.
In May 2013, a newborn baby in the eastern province of Zhejiang survived after being dropped down a toilet by his mother. Rescuers were forced to saw away a section of pipe with the boy inside, according to Agence France-Presse.