Mum kept daughter in pigsty

An eight-year-old girl, who was kept in a pigsty by her mentally-ill mother, is recovering from malnutrition and lung infections in a hospital in south-west China's Sichuan province.

The girl, nicknamed Xiaozhong, was saved after Mr Peng Liying, the newly-appointed deputy director of Daocheng County, visited their home last month, Shanghai Daily reported.

"Her legs were crossed. Only a ragged blanket covered her body and she was wearing a red hat. She seemed unable to move, as if she was stuck in crevices in a rock," Mr Peng told the People's Daily website.

He raised 27,000 yuan (S$5,700) from a local women's federation, the Red Cross and the civil affairs authority, and took Xiaozhong to Chengdu, the provincial capital.

The girl was suffering from severe malnutrition and was only 78cm tall and weighed 7kg. A healthy eight-year-old would be around 115cm to 130cm tall, and weigh 30kg.

She was also diagnosed with severe lung infections and congenital heart disease, China News Service reported.

After almost three weeks in hospital, Xiaozhong has gained about 500g.

Doctors were quoted as saying that the malnutrition has eased and the lung infection is under control.

But she cannot speak and is unable to swallow, so nurses have to feed her using syringes.

She's also too weak to undergo heart surgery, said Dr Tan Jiao at the Sichuan Bayi Rehabilitation Centre.

This article was first published on November 14, 2014. Get The New Paper for more stories.