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China executes 3 baby traffickers
Updated: 2004-12-11 08:49

China has executed three baby traffickers who sold 11 infants in nation where family planning rules allow couples normally to have just one child.

Children rescued last year from a baby trafficking gang, who took 21 babies from Xuanwei, Yunnan Province, and sold them in Hebi, Henan Province. [newsphoto/file]

The three were executed in Kunming in the southwestern province of Yunnan, Xinhua news agency said.

"Many babies kidnapped by them are still missing and there is no way to rescue them," a judge with the Kunming Intermediate People's Court was quoted as saying.

The sale of women and children has become a nationwide problem in China, where the family planning has resulted in far more boys than girls.

Chinese traditionally prefer sons because they are seen as more able to provide for the family, to support elderly parents and to carry on the family line. Daughters become members of their husband's family when they marry.

Authorities uncovered the biggest baby trafficking case in China's 55-year history last year in the southern region of Guangxi, bordering Yunnan, when 28 newborn girls were found jammed in bags on a bus with their arms and legs tied.

More than 60 ring members, convicted of selling at least 200 babies, had either been executed or otherwise punished, state media reported.

In July, Chinese police arrested 95 members of a gang in Inner Mongolia for trafficking 76 babies.

The U.N. Children's Fund said that about 250,000 women and children were victims of trafficking in China last year.

Official figures in March showed police had freed 42,215 kidnapped women and children in 2002 and 2003 and analysts say that could be just the tip of the iceberg.

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