Thursday, July 2, 2009

Family Planning Officials in China Forced Parents to Give Children to Orphanage

Shanghai Daily reports:

An orphanage in southwest China has been accused of taking children away from parents who can't afford fines for violating family planning policy and sending the kids overseas for adoption.The orphanage was reportedly earning US$3,000 for each child placed with a foreign family.

The allegations involve family planning officials in Zhenyuan County, Guizhou Province. They demanded that parents who violated childbirth regulations pay 10,000 yuan (US$1,460) for each extra offspring, according to Nanfang Metropolis Daily. Those who couldn't afford the fine were ordered to give their child to a local orphanage, the paper said.

Lu Xiande, a farmer in Zhenyuan, had his fourth daughter taken by the orphanage in June 2004, according to the report.Lu's daughter was born in February 2003. A family planning official identified as Shi Guangying approached Lu's wife, Yang Shuiying, and told her that the government would take her daughter because she couldn't pay the fine, the paper said.

Shi told the newspaper that the taking of the child was in line with county policies. Several other local residents reported similar experiences, the newspaper said.The orphanage was funneling the children into China's system for foreign adoptions, the paper reported.

The fact that this is reported in a Chinese newspaper seems HUGE. Shanghai Daily is "supervised by the Foreign Publicity Office of the Shanghai CPC Committee and the Press Office of the Shanghai Municipal Government," so this is Chinese Government-sanctioned news. I wonder why they are willing to publish to the world this story. . . .

UPDATE 7/02, 7:50 p.m.: Brian Stuy has a post up at with some additional information, including info about the adoptive parent who helped uncover the story, and links to a variety of media reports. Brian also says he's hopeful that an English translation of the original, lengthy article quoted in the Shanghai Daily report will be available soon. I found this blog last night (early this morning!) when I was trying to check out the Shanghai Daily report, and it appears to be a bad English translation of a lengthy article, if you want to pick through it to try to understand!

Brian also reports the only potential bright spot here: "[T]he orphanage made no attempt to disguise the origin of these children -- the adoption paperwork lists the finding location as the birth parent's home. Thus many of Zhenyuan's adoptive parents have been given a direct line to their child's birth family."


Anonymous said...

I'm kind of disturbed by the way they reported that the orphanage was "earning" $3000 per child adopted. We've all been told that this "donation" is required by every orphanage in order to adopt, required by the Chinese government. So if the orphanage and city officials found a way to make money off the deal by forcing children into the orphanage, I'd say that maybe the Chinese government needs to look at this "donation" and ask whether they are creating an environment that allows this type of situation to occur by requiring this "donation".

Elizabeth J.

Michele R. H. said...

BBC Radio World Service has been running this story at the top of every hour. "...Guizhou baby girls taken away from poor farming families and sold to foreigners..."

My heart aches for the birth families and their separated children - and then all adopted children who might be labeled as "sold".

Michele R. H. said...

The story was re-worded for the 1:00 pm EST BBC Radio headlines. "...the children were adopted by foreigners who were told the children were abandoned."

osolomama said...

Earning $3000 per child is exactly what this is and has been for some time. Yes, it is required. But yes, it leads to corruption. has more.

osolomama said...

Oh, Malinda, I forgot to mention--did you know that an adoptive parent tipped over this apple cart?

malinda said...


I think the "earning" $300 is just the Chinese understanding of the orphanage donation, not some separate fee. But osolomamma is right that any time money comes into adoption, corruption can also enter.

malinda said...

Yes, check out -- Brian Stuy has links to many news reports inside and outside of China.

I checked Brian's site as soon as I saw the article about the Guizhou scandal -- around 1:00 a.m. Thursday -- and he didn't have anything on it. But now his blog shows a post at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday! I would have included the link to his post in my original post if it had been up then!

Diane said...

Wow. Astounding about the finding locations.

Katia said...

I am an American who lived in China for some time. I can tell you that the government-run newspapers do indeed report on some "surprising" stories (as Americans we tend to believe that anything 'bad' won't be reported in China because of the lack of freedom of speech and government control over information). They do this, I believe, to have the public believe that there is no need for freedom of speech -- it's like the government is blinding the people by allowing some 'bad' information out.

I became friends with a reporter at China Daily who very much believes that it is for the good of the people ("to protect them" as she says) that the government censors and chooses the news article and the "facts" presented in that article. ...Even the Chinese believe that they have "free election" because the government does a good job at deception.

When I lived in China there was a report in Europe/America about women in the farming villages that were sterilized without their consent, regardless if they had children or not; there have also been reports about forced abortions if it was the woman's second, etc., baby -- I did not see/hear those reports while in China.