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Traffickers await appeal verdict

By Hu Yongqi and Zhang Yan | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-30 08:07

The appeal of a woman sentenced to death last year for trafficking 223 children has been heard, according to the Yunnan Provincial High Court.

Jiang Kaizhi, 52, was convicted in June of running a ring that trafficked 223 children from Yunnan to Henan province. Thirty-five accomplices, mostly her friends and relatives, received three-year to life sentences from the intermediate court in Qujing, Yunnan.

Jiang and her accomplices found their sentences overly harsh and appealed to the Yunnan Provincial High Court, said Ou Hongyan, publicity director at the Qujing court.

The appeal was heard on May 17 in Xuanwei, where most of the abducted children were born. It is not known when the verdict will be announced.

From late 2009 to August 2010, Jiang led the group in abducting and buying children in areas such as Xuanwei, Huize and Kaiyuan in Yunnan. The children were then taken to Zhengzhou, Henan province.

Jiang could earn as much as 30,000 yuan ($4,890) for selling a boy and 20,000 yuan a girl. She paid her accomplices 3,500 yuan to 4,500 yuan for one trip between the two provinces.

Chen Shiqu, director of the anti-human trafficking office in the Ministry of Public Security's Criminal Investigation Department, led the investigation that broke up the gang.

He said that the extent of their activity, trafficking 223 children, was astounding and harsher penalties were warranted.

Chen said the gang drugged the children with sleeping pills to transport them from Yunnan to Henan, which caused them great physical and psychological harm.

Wu Mingan, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said the case involving 223 children was the largest he knew of.

"If the facts of the case are true, Jiang's death penalty was legally the right choice," Wu said.

Chen said the next step is to strictly follow the anti-human trafficking plan issued last year and focus on breaking up the buyer market to eradicate human trafficking.

Guo Anfei and Cao Yin contributed to this story.

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