Rush of registrations crashes 'Amber Alert' platform meant to protect children

China's "Amber Alert" system broke down on the day after its launch because of the large number of parents registering their children.

"We are busy upgrading the service and restoring the system to put the platform back in use as soon as possible," said Zhang Yongjiang, secretary of the Zhongshe Children Safety Technology Foundation, a nonprofit organisation.

The foundation launched the Chinese Children's Safety Emergency Response on Friday, Universal Children's Day, aiming to bring social efforts together to respond to missing children alerts.

However, on Saturday morning, the platform broke down due to the overwhelming number of registrations. The foundation was not willing to reveal the number of registrations.

"We underestimated parents' enthusiasm, causing the server to be unable to receive the huge amounts of traffic," Zhang said.

The platform, similar to the "Amber Alert" service in the United States, plans to provide missing children's alerts to 600 million WeChat users.

Once parents complete the registration and provide their children's information, the platform will send out that information to nearby WeChat users if parents report their child missing.

Huang Mu, mother of a 6-month-old infant, attempted to register for the platform on Saturday around 7 or 8 am, but failed.

"My mothers' group is so excited and posted all about the launch," Huang said.

"Although my son is still young, I have concerns about his safety. The platform could be very useful," she said. She is confident about the use of the platform because it ties in with WeChat, which will make it convenient.

In a China Daily report in March, Chen Shiqu, director of the Ministry of Public Security's human trafficking task force, said the number of children reported abducted last year dropped compared with 2013 - although a specific number was not disclosed - while the number of trafficked infants increased sharply.

Although the platform has been applauded, media and netizens have questioned the credentials of Zhongshe Children Safety Technology Foundation, which was founded in May with 5 million yuan (S$1.1 million).

The process of reporting children missing and protecting information were also questioned.