Adoptions suspended for smuggle investigation
Updated: 2005-12-22 09:32
Chinese authorities have temporarily halted
adoptions in some regions of Hunan province because of a continuing
investigation of a baby-trafficking scandal, a senior Hunan official said.
The official denied, however, that the scandal has prompted China to suspend
all adoptions from Hunan, one of the main sources of Chinese children adopted by
A report last week by Children's Bridge, an international adoption service
based in Ottawa, said that Hunan had dealt with the scandal "swiftly and
ruthlessly" by suspending all foreign adoptions from Hunan until Chinese
authorities have finished their investigation.
But in interviews this week, Chinese authorities said Hunan remains open to
foreign adoptions, with the exception of some counties that are directly
involved in the baby-smuggling allegations.
"We have suspended the adoption work in some counties that are possibly
involved in the case," the director of Hunan's foreign-adoption centre said,
speaking on condition of anonymity.
He refused to give any details of which counties are subject to the
suspension. Deborah Maw, who runs a Toronto adoption agency called Open Arms to
International Adoption, said yesterday she had heard only rumours of a freeze on
adoptions from parts of Hunan. She said she had no clients whose adoptions would
In Chilliwack, B.C., Bernice Whalley moderates an e-mail network of Canadians
adopting children from China. She said she had not heard of any potential
adoptions in jeopardy.
"I'm pretty in touch with what's going on," said Ms. Whalley, who is also
vice-chairman of the B.C. branch of an organization called Families with
Children from China.
Hunan is one of the major sources of Chinese children adopted by foreigners,
and China remains the biggest source of foreign children adopted by Canadians.
Last year, Canadians adopted 1,001 children from China, more than half of all
international adoptions by Canadians last year.
The baby-trafficking scandal has sparked questions about corruption in the
adoption system in China, which had previously been considered relatively clean.
The scandal began when Chinese police detained more than 50 suspects for
alleged involvement in the buying and selling of at least 100 children. Most of
the suspects were child-welfare officials and orphanage employees in Hunan,
although other provinces, including Guangdong and Guangxi, were also allegedly
One of the implicated orphanages, in the city of Zhuzhou in Hunan province,
has placed children with adoptive parents in Canada in the past. Some parents
have said they are worried that their children might not have been legitimately
The suspects reportedly sold the children to orphanages and child-welfare
institutions for about $110 to $165 (Canadian) each. They were then resold to
other orphanages or adoptive families for as much as $4,200 each. Some of the
babies had been abducted from their parents, according to Chinese