Saturday, October 10, 2009

Stolen babies a new industry in China's villages

That's the headline in the Taiwan News for their report of the baby-confiscation incidents reported by the L.A. Times last month. There isn't much in the way of original reporting, though this paragraph seems to provide a bit more background:

The problem is rooted in China's population controls, which limit most families to one child, two if they live in the countryside and the first is a girl. Each town has a family planning office, usually staffed by loyal Communist Party cadres who have broad powers to order abortions and sterilizations. People who have additional babies can be fined up to six times their annual income -- fines euphemistically called "social service expenditures," which are an important source of revenue for local government in rural areas.

The article concludes:

Some people blame international adoption itself, saying that the money involved creates the opportunity for abuse. With China there are obviously reasons to be extra careful -- the lack of freedom for a couple to found and raise a family, and the absence of a free press that might thoroughly investigate the whole question of "abandonment" of baby girls.

Since most of those adopted overseas go to the US, it is certainly an issue for the government there to investigate and put the heat on Beijing if necessary.

In light of the sometimes-strained China-Taiwan relations, it's interesting to see the slant a Taiwanese newspaper puts on this news from China.

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