Girls seized, handed over for adoption


Foreign families paid officials and orphanages

Fiona Tam
Jul 02, 2009

About 80 newborn baby girls from a county in Guizhou have been confiscated from their parents by family planning officials since 2001 and handed over to foreign adoptive parents as orphans at a price of US$3,000 each, state media reported.

Struggling farmers in Zhenyuan county who breached the two-child policy set down for rural areas but failed to pay some 20,000 yuan (HK$22,700) in total fines were forced to surrender their baby girls, The Southern Metropolis News reported yesterday. Authorities later forged documents stating the babies were orphans and gave the babies to foreign families in the United States, Belgium, Spain and other European countries. The US$3,000 each in adoption fees was split between the orphanage and the officials.

County adoption records show at least 78 girls were handed over to foreign families in the past eight years.

The records suggested that adoptions from the county’s orphanage dramatically rose from 2003 to 2005, when police started to crack down on trafficking in children nationwide. But the number of adoptions rose again in 2007.

Farmer Lu Xiande’s youngest daughter was confiscated by authorities in 2004 after he failed to pay a fine of four times the family’s annual income.

“[Officials] said the government would raise our daughter, but she disappeared from the government-funded orphanage,” said the farmer, who has three other daughters and a son. He was allowed to have two children under the strict birth-control policy but the couple eventually had five because they had wanted a son.

The father later found his daughter’s picture in an orphanage announcement, which said the baby was an orphan found outside Mr Lu’s house and was suitable for adoption.

Shi Guangying , a birth control official who confiscated Mr Lu’s daughter, told the newspaper that “it was the county’s policy to send newborn baby girls to orphanages as abandoned children once their parents failed to pay the fine”.

Tang Jian , a disciplinary chief from the county’s birth control bureau, was quoted by the newspaper as saying that an investigation had found that some parents with babies had been forced to send them to the orphanage, where they were handed over to foreign families.

But not every couple regretted giving up their girls. Farmer Zhang Yang said he was happy to give his daughter to the orphanage to escape the heavy birth control fine.

“Rural families can’t live without a son who’s able to do farm work,” the Southern Weekly quoted him as saying. “For most villagers, a daughter was only an `accident’ on their way to pursuing a son,” he said. “Some will be more than happy to leave their daughters to orphanages if they don’t need to pay heavy fines for an unexpected daughter.”

In 2005, police in Hunan smashed a baby-trafficking gang involving homes in Hengyang . Foster homes had been found for 800 newborns bought from child traffickers for 3,000 yuan each and handed over to foreign parents for US$3,000 each. Ten orphanage employees were jailed in 2006.