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“Illegal Children” Abducted by Chinese Authorities and Trafficked Abroad

According to a report in the Caixin Century magazine,
population control officials in the Chinese province of Hunan
seized at least 16 babies born in violation of the one-child
policy, sent them to state-run orphanages, and then sold them
abroad for adoption.

In the words of Steven W. Mosher, China expert
and president of the Population Research Institute, “if this
is true (which we at PRI believe it to be based on our own research
in China), then this act represents a serious human rights
violation and a clear instance of human trafficking.”

“Before 1997, they usually punished us by tearing down our
houses for breaching the one-child policy, but after 2000 they
began to confiscate our children,” the magazine quoted
villager Yuan Chaoren as saying.

The children, reportedly from Longhui county near the city of
Shaoyang, were abducted by local authorities who accused their
parents of breaching the one-child policy or illegally adopting
children. Then, according to Caixin Century, the local
family planning office sent them to local orphanages, which listed
them as being available for adoption. The report added that the
office could get 1,000 renminbi or more for each child. The
orphanages in turn receive $3,000 to $5,000 for each child adopted
overseas, money that is paid by the adoptive parents. The magazine
reported that at least one migrant worker said she had found her
daughter had been adopted abroad and was now living in the United

According to Steven Mosher, this report is heartbreaking, but
not surprising.

“This report,” says Mosher, “is corroborated
by research that PRI conducted on the ground in China back in 2009.
In Lipu county, located in northern Guangxi province, we were told
by a village official that ’at the present time, if you don’t pay
the fine, they come and abduct the baby you just gave birth to and
give it to someone else.’ It is also worth noting that these two
reports come from the same general area of China and occurred in
neighboring provinces. “

“Of course,” Mosher continues, “local
officials deny any involvement in child trafficking. But it is well
known that the so-called ‘job responsibility system’
requires them to rigorously enforce the one-child policy, and that
their success (or failure) in this area will determine future
promotions (or demotions). Abducting and selling an
‘illegal’ baby or child would not only enable an
official to eliminate a potential black mark on his record, it
would allow him to make a profit at the same time.

“In this way,” Mosher concludes, “the
one-child policy, through its system of perverse and inhumane
rewards and punishment, encourages officials to violate the
fundamental right of parents to decide for themselves the number
and spacing of their children.”

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