China sentences orphanage director, nine others to prison for baby-trafficking
Updated: 2006-02-25 15:34
BEIJING (AP) _ A Chinese orphanage director and nine other people have been
sentenced to prison for buying and selling scores of infants who were adopted by
foreign parents, the government announced Saturday.
Another 22 officials were fired in the case in the southern city of Hengyang
in Hunan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
Police said the traffickers bought babies that had been abducted from their
families and sold them to welfare homes in Hengyang for 3,200 to 4,300 yuan
(US$400-US$540; euro320-euro430) each, the report said.
"The social welfare homes then had the infants adopted by foreigners who made
donations," the report said.
It didn't give the nationalities of adoptive parents or say whether they were
considered to have bought the babies.
The group carried on the trade from 2002 to 2005, and trafficked 78 babies in
2005 alone, Xinhua said.
Employees who answered the phone at the Qidong County People's Court, where
the case was tried, said they couldn't give any other details or say whether
authorities were trying to track down babies abroad. They wouldn't give their
Phone calls to the local prosecutor's office and the criminal division of the
police department weren't answered.
China has a thriving black market in babies, often girls, abducted or bought
from poor families or unwed mothers and sold to parents who want another child,
a servant or a future bride for a son.
People involved with the adoption of Chinese children by foreigners have long
worried that parents might unknowingly receive children who were abducted or
stolen from their families.
They worry that baby-trafficking accusations could lead officials to limit or
stop the process that has given homes to thousands of Chinese children who might
otherwise grow up in orphanages.