A scandal involving family planning officials trafficking in newborns has just come to light in Hunan province.
Officials in Shaoyang, a prefecture-level city three hours drive southwest from the provincial capital of Changsha, have been accused of forcing families to give up their children when found to be in violation of the one-child policy.
Colluding with orphanages, local officials were offered cash incentives for providing babies for the foreign adoption market, with at least 16 children being taken away from the Shaoyang-administered Gaoping town by the end of 2005. Officials could reportedly receive 1000 RMB from local welfare homes for every abducted child they could supply.
The Shanghai Daily relays the story first broken by the Hu Shuli-edited Caixin Century, reporting that the scheme was indicative of the overall profit-oriented structure of Shaoyang’s family-planning policies:
The family-planning department of Longhui County in Hunan imposed the most stringent measures to crack down on violations and fines collected from villagers became a major source of its income. It even closely tied bonuses, promotion and personal performance ratings with how many cases each official busted, the magazine reported.
“They just abducted your babies starting from 2000,” said a villager called Yuan Chaoren, who had been fined previously for having extra children. In order to get the babies back, villagers were charged up to 10,000 yuan (US$1,540) by the officials.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Chinese family-planning officials have been accused of serious criminal misconduct. The blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, who like other activists manages to be more famous abroad than at home, fought legal cases for victims of forced abortions in Shandong province. Chen is currently under house arrest, and access to his home has proved to be difficult.
For the full story (in Chinese), you can pick up the May 9th issue of Caixin Century (新世纪周刊), or check out the online version with photos and video here.
By Fan Huang