Anne Kingston reviews Message From an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love:

[Author and journalist Xue Xinran] writes of mothers wanting to provide their children with legacy mementoes when they give them up for adoption: some write letters to their babies on their clothing; others leave their fingerprint in blood. But orphanages routinely toss the clothing out.

She says she once purchased cameras so that orphanages could photograph personal effects left with foundlings for their records. But when she returned, she was told the cameras had been “lost.” “They laughed at me,” she says. “They said, ‘You are silly. Westerners want something like McDonald’sall shiny and new. They don’t want dirty old rubbish.’“

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