An investigation in Hunan has revealed that family planning officials and local village officials confiscated babies from families who could not afford to pay the fine for having more than one child, and sold the children to adoption agencies for overseas adoption. From BBC:
The children were allegedly listed as orphans and adopted by foreigners for fees of about $3,000 (£1,800) each.
Xinhua news agency said some were now in the US, the Netherlands and Poland.
The reports first appeared in Caixin magazine and caused such outrage that the Hunan provincial government has launched a formal investigation.
A government spokeswoman confirmed to AFP news agency that the investigation began on Monday.
Their explanation for the action was that either the child had been illegally adopted or the parents had breached the national one-child policy and could not afford a fine.
Some victims were actually a family’s first child, the report said.
“They mistook my daughter for being illegal when my wife and I were working in Shenzhen,” Yang Libing, a local migrant worker, told the magazine, adding that their 7-year-old child has been found living in the US.
The child-snatching phenomenon climaxed in about 2005, the Beijing-based magazine reported, and some welfare centers even worked with human traffickers to obtain children and reclassify them as orphans for “export.”
The magazine said that for every child sent to a welfare center, the family-planning office could receive 1,000 yuan ($154) or more from the welfare center.
“Before 1997, they usually punished us by tearing down our houses for breaching the one-child policy,” Yuan Chaoren, a villager, told the magazine.
“But after 2000, they began to confiscate our children.”