No babies in trafficking case sent to US: China
Updated: 2006-03-17 09:01
The Chinese government has told Washington that an
investigation found no children involved in a recent baby-trafficking case were
adopted by American families, a U.S. State Department official said Wednesday.
The U.S. government asked the official China Center for Adoption Affairs to
investigate after state media said abducted babies were sold to welfare homes in
the southern city of Hengyang and later adopted by foreign couples. The United
States is the leading destination for Chinese babies adopted abroad.
"The CCAA informed us that it had concluded its investigation into all of the
children from Hengyang adopted by Americans and found that all of these children
were legitimately orphaned or abandoned and that there are no biological parents
searching for them," the U.S. official said from Washington.
The official said he had no information on whether the Chinese agency found
babies were sent to other countries. He declined to be identified further, in
line with State Department rules.
Ten people were sentenced last month to up to 15 years in prison on charges
of selling at least 78 babies, some of them abducted, to welfare homes in
Supporters of those convicted in Hengyang say they passed on foundlings to
orphanages for free and were wrongly prosecuted as part of efforts to crack down
Chinese state media say some babies were adopted by foreigners "who made
donations" to the welfare homes. The reports said the homes paid 3,200 yuan to
4,300 yuan (US$400-US$540) per baby.
News of the case alarmed adoptive American parents of Chinese babies who
worried that some might have families in China that hoped to be reunited with
Americans adopted 7,906 children from China last year, according to the Joint
Council on International Children's Services in Alexandria, Virginia, an
association of adoption agencies and parents' groups.
Chinese officials have refused to release any details of where the babies in
the Hengyang case went, and the court ordered lawyers not to talk about it
Thousands of babies are abandoned every year in China. Many are girls given
up by couples who, bound by rules that limit most urban families to one child,
want to try to have a son. Others are left at orphanages or by the roadside by
unmarried mothers or poor families.
But the country also has a thriving trade in babies that are stolen or bought
from poor families and then sold to couples who want another child, a servant or
a future bride for a son.
China's system, which is generally respected and regarded as free of
corruption, is meant to ensure that all adoptees are orphaned or abandoned.
Foreign parents are matched with children by the CCAA and are barred from
dealing directly with orphanages.