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buying babies for foreign adoption, investigation finds
Daily Telegraph (Australia) October 14, 2011
CHINESE orphanages may still be buying babies and offering them for
foreign adoption, Sky News discovered in an investigation.
It follows a series of scandals linking China's foreign adoption program
to baby trafficking and the illegal confiscation of children.
Since international adoptions began in China in the early 1990s, more
than 100,000 children have been adopted by foreign nationals. Adoptive
couples are told by the Chinese authorities that the babies they adopt
are either orphaned or abandoned.
But an undercover investigation by Sky found more than one government
orphanage that would happily buy a baby that could have been kidnapped.
Though some orphanages said they no longer paid money for children, one
worker at an orphanage in Hunan Province said they would pay £300
($472) for a baby. The child required no identification.
"We'll arrange to meet somewhere at 4:00am or 5:00am, you abandon
the baby there, and then I'll pick her up. That's how it works,"
she told Sky, during a recorded telephone call. When asked where the
child would end up, she said that most adoptive couples were foreign.
Chinese families, she said, were "not rich enough."
The investigation follows claims by several Chinese families that their
children were seized by government officials against their will and
later adopted by foreigners.
Yuan Zanhua said her 18-month-old daughter Xiao Fang was taken by local
officials because she and her husband already had four children and were
in breach of the country's one-child rule.
Confiscating a child is illegal in China, where the law stipulates a
fine for those who break the country's family planning regulations.
"I've been to the family planning office to ask for my daughter
several times," she told Sky. "That's all I want."
Yuan and her husband believe that a photograph briefly posted on the
website of an American adoption agency is Xiao Fang. But they have no
way of contacting her, and local officials have told them to stay silent
on the matter.
Several other families in the village also say they watched powerlessly
as officials seized their children. It is thought they were all taken to
the local orphanage, which has sent several hundred children for
Following a report by Chinese journalists, the Chinese government
finally investigated the case and punished 12 officials for
"negligence." However, no effort has been made to assist the
parents in tracing their lost children.
Foreign couples who adopt in China must pay a "voluntary
donation" of around £2,000 to authorities. Most of the money goes
directly to the state-run orphanage that has cared for the child.
Neither the China Centre of Adoption Affairs, nor the Chinese Ministry
for Civil Affairs would respond to requests for an interview.
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|“In all of us there
is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are
and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there
is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting
Alex Haley, Author of Roots