Two government employees including a local family planning official in Fujian Province were among 355 people detained on suspicion of child trafficking, reported the Xinhua News Agency Monday.
Local police from nine provinces including Anhui, Fujian, Yunnan and Sichuan rescued 89 children and busted nine child trafficking rings during a joint crackdown from December 18 to 24.
Among the suspects, a long-time village official in charge of family planning affairs, surnamed Wang, in Anxi county, Fujian, was charged with trafficking four babies.
Local police also rescued a 3-month-old baby bought by a wealthy couple in the province's city of Quanzhou. The couple already has a 10-year-old son and the husband is a local government official.
Zhang Zhiwei, an anti-child trafficking advocate, told the Global Times that it is not the first time that officials have been found to be involved in such a crime. "In some cases, family planning officials sell the children. Police are also bribed by people who need to register a hukou, or household registration permit, for their purchased baby."
Stricter laws are required to punish those who assist traffickers and those who buy the children. "Currently, buyers can escape punishment," he added.
While the Ministry of Public Security initiated a crackdown on child trafficking in April 2009, the crime is propelled by demand and profits, said Chen Shiqu, director of the ministry's anti-human trafficking office.
He said traditions that favor large families and sons are also important factors in explaining the lack of remorse parents have in raising another couple's stolen child.