Baby adoption case draws scrutiny in China
Updated: 2006-03-07 11:23
Liang Guihong is a goodhearted
56-year-old woman who finds homes for abandoned infants. Or she's a leader of a
gang that sold abducted babies, some of whom were adopted abroad.
A court in southern China sentenced Liang last month to 15 years in prison
after she was convicted, along with an orphanage director and eight others, of
selling scores of babies 78 of them last year alone.
Supporters say Liang and the others
passed on foundlings to orphanages for free and are victims of a miscarriage of
justice prompted by official zeal to stamp out China's black market in abducted
or purchased babies.
Charts shows child
trafficking statistics in China. [AP
The case is acutely sensitive for China, where thousands of babies are
adopted every year by Americans and other foreigners, and the government wants
to assure adoptive parents and its own public that the children are
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing says it has asked Chinese officials, who have a
respected adoption system, to look into Liang's case and confirm that any babies
adopted by Americans were orphaned or abandoned, not abducted or sold.
"It's certainly a nightmare for any adoptive parent to have that seed of
doubt," said Meghan Hendy, executive director of the Joint Council on
International Children's Services in Alexandria, Va., an association of adoption
agencies and parents' groups.
"The adoption community wants orphans to find homes, not children who may
have had a family that could have taken care of them in their own country," she
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.
The United States is the No. 1 destination for Chinese babies adopted abroad.
According to Hendy, Americans adopted a record 7,906 children from China last
year, bringing the total since 1989 to 48,504.
At the same time, thousands of Chinese babies also are abducted or bought
each year by traffickers and sold to families that want another child, a servant
or a future bride for a son.