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Chinese babies sold for adoption in the U.S.?

BEIJING – Since the early 1990s, more than 100,000 Chinese children have been adopted by families overseas – most of them in the U.S.

And now it looks like some of the adoptees weren’t in fact orphans or unwanted offspring, but in fact children illegally snatched from their parents and sold to Chinese orphanages who brokered the adoptions – for as much as $3,000 a child adopted by foreigners.

An investigative report released this week by the highly respected Chinese weekly publication, Caixin Century Magazine, found that from 2000 to 2005, local family planning officials in Hunan Province seized at least 16 children from households they claimed had violated the strict nationwide one-child policy. In almost every instance, when the parents could not pay the fine, their children were shipped off to an orphanage, which then sold them overseas.  Two of the children, their biological families believe, were adopted by American families.

Caixin’s original report in Chinese spread rapidly around the Internet Tuesday, capturing widespread attention among netizens despite the fact that similar reports have surfaced in the years past. Even state-run media covered the story, describing a “stunned nation” upon hearing of the report.

The allegations bring to light once more just one of the myriad problems China’s one-child policy has created in trying to address population pressures and poverty alleviation.  It also illustrates the potential for government corruption; career advancement in many instances depended on whether an official could demonstrate his or her ability to enforce the one-child policy.

We could write more, but we encourage everyone to read the Caixin article here in an English translation.

Related story: Time to re-evaluate China's one-child policy?