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Chinese babies sold abroad for adoption for 2,000

Chinese babies were sold abroad for adoption for up to 2,000 each after they were forcibly seized by officials enforcing China's one-child policy, an investigation has claimed.

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By Peter Foster, The Telegraph 10 May 2011

At least 20 children were forcefully removed by family planning officials in one county in the central province of Hunan and sold on for adoption to the Netherlands and the United States, according to Caixin Century Magazine, one of China's leading investigative journals.

The story of children being abducted and sold for profit – not the first of its kind to be uncovered in recent years – has caused a public furore in China, raising fresh questions about the one-child policy and the endemic corruption in China's ruling Communist Party.

The case generated more than 33,500 comments on China's leading 163.com web portal, trending as the number one 'hot topic' before the discussion on the story was apparently taken off-line by web censors.

"They sold the factories, then they sold the land, and now they turn to selling people," said one bitter posting, while another added, "These officials are even worse than human traffickers, because they sold babies under the legal cover of being public servants." The lengthy report contained emotive videos, old photographs and recorded interviews with families from the impoverished county of Longhui who had been forced to give up their children after being too poor to pay the 8,000 yuan (780) fine.

"Before 1997, they usually punished us by tearing down our houses for breaching the one-child policy," Yuan Chaoren, a villager, told the magazine, "But after 2000, they began to confiscate our children." Another parent, Yang Libing alleged that his six-month-old daughter had been removed by officials in January 2005 even though she was his only child "They mistook my daughter for being illegal when my wife and I were working in Shenzhen," said Mr Yang, a migrant worker who like many poor Chinese had left his child in the care of relatives while he went to earn money.

"There were furious, the grandmother took her granddaughter to the pigsty to hide," said Mr Yang's father, recalling the day the child was seized, adding that the angry cadre still confiscated the "illegal" child for refusing to pay "social alimony".

The family tried to 'buy back' the child for 6,000 yuan (580) the next day had already been sent to the local welfare house where officials had received 1,000 yuan (100) as their cut in the adoption process.

The magazine said the illegal 'adoptions' peaked in 2005, but continued for nearly a decade. Mr Yang, whose marriage was destroyed by the incident, says he was later offered the chance to have two further children if he agreed not to make trouble over the enforced 'adoption' of his child.

Such stories of abuse by family planning officials have also provoked renewed questions about the one-child policy itself, which since the 1980s has limited most Chinese to a single child in order to slow the growth of China's 1.3bn-strong population.

"We must re-examine fairness of family-planning policy," said one online commenter, "Who has the power to intervene above law and human nature?"

The debate over the one-child policy was sharpened by China's 2010 census released last month which showed that the nation's fertility rate had fallen to just 1.4 per woman of child-bearing age, well below the "replacement rate" of 2.1 per children per woman.

Demographers warn that China's ageing population will slow economic growth, drive up wages and inflation as the labour-pool shrinks and put growing burdens on younger workers having to support their parents in old age.

To head off a potential demographic crisis were China 'grows old before it grows rich', a number of policy think tanks in China are suggesting that it might be time to move towards a 'two-child' policy, however Party leaders have remained publicly very cautious about the issue.

 

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