China province probes sale of "illegal children"
BEIJING (Reuters) - A southern Chinese province has begun investigating a report that officials had seized at least 16 babies born in violation of strict family planning rules, sent them to welfare centers and then sold them abroad for adoption.
The children in Longhui county near Hunan province's Shaoyang city had been taken away by officials since 2005 after their parents were accused of breaching the one-child policy or illegally adopting children, the Caixin Century magazine reported.
The local family planning office then sent the children to local welfare centers, which listed them as being available for adoption, the report said, adding the office could get 1,000 yuan ($154) or more for each child.
Some of the seized children were the sole children of couples who were often away working in the cities, the magazine added.
At least one migrant worker said she had found her daughter had been adopted abroad and was now living in the United States, it said. The welfare centers could receive as much as $3,000 for each child placed in overseas adoption.
"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," it quoted villager Yuan Chaoren as saying.
The Shaoyang government is now investigating the case, the popular tabloid the Global Times reported on Tuesday, though it quoted one official as denying any involvement in child trafficking.
"When we found illegal birth children, we fined the parents in accordance with the law," the anonymous official told the newspaper, without elaborating.
Provincial officials, whose promotion is closely linked to the effectiveness of measures to stop people from having more babies, have often been criticized for using violence or coercion to enforce tough family planning policies.
Chen Guangcheng, a blind legal activist, drew international attention when he took on officials over forced abortions in his home province of Shandong and was jailed. He was released in September, more than four years after being convicted of damaging property and disrupting traffic in a protest, and has been held under virtual house arrest in his village ever since.
With a population expected to peak at 1.65 billion in 2033, China has been cautious about dropping its one-child policy that was implemented to spare the country the pressures of feeding and clothing hundreds of millions of additional people.
China already allows a number of exceptions to the policy, and some experts have called for a greater relaxation to tackle the problem of a population aging before it can first become rich.
($1 = 6.494 yuan)
Yesterday, as we celebrated NJ's victory, someone commented how 'things are so much better now than they were in the past - the 60's and 70's". Women - American women - are not longer under as much social pressure to relinquish and they have more reproductive options to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Yes, things, on the whole are better for homegrown girls, though the few who become pregnant and consider adoption are often pressured into a deceitful so-called "open adoption" which may or may not remain so.
But more importantly, we cannot take our eye off the bigger picture. The demand for babies has not gone away, if anything it is steadily increasing. New markets are opening op demanding babies, such as the gay community. And new market created to fill these needs: frozen embryos, outsourced surrogacy. And around the world the demand for babies continues to create a climate in which sought after commodities tiny commodities are stolen, kidnapped, coerced from mothers, mothers duped, then sold and trafficked for adoption.
Why should we care?
Why should we care what happens to third world mothers? And after all, they kids are better off in the long run if Evangelicals - even with a bit too much vehemence and zeal - go into Haiti and rush out with children they've "saved."
We MUST care. When the tobacco industry was pushed out of this country with restrictive laws, they moved their business overseas and began getting young children addicted. We turned the other way. Not out problem. Sad. But not our problem. Those "other" countries need to do what we did and pass laws stopping it. Not our problem.
But international adoption IS out problem because the US is the largest importer of these children. It is US citizens are the recipients, who create the demand that causes the illegal sale of human life.
And we must care because the children they are stealing become US citizens and they grow up and will tell their tales of how colonial US played a role in their mother's exploitation and in their commodification to meet a demand for a "product."
We need to do FAR MORE than see to it that American born adoptees regain their civil rights. We cannot stop there. We need to work to stop the culture of adoption encouragement and see it as family disruption and separation and loss and grief. Until we turn that around and prioritize original families in crisis, we are off our moral kilter and headed in a very immoral direction.
More here and here.