Zhang Shuxia stands trial in Weinan Intermediate People's Court in the city of Weinan, Shaanxi Province, on Monday. She is accused of trafficking seven babies, one of whom died. Photo: IC
An obstetrician at the Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital of Fuping county, Shaanxi Province stood trial on Monday on charges of trafficking seven babies, one of whom died.
Dr Zhang Shuxia stood accused of selling seven babies to traffickers between November 2011 and July 2013 after persuading their parents to give up their newborns that she falsely claimed were sick, the Weinan People's Procuratorate said at trial in Weinan, Shaanxi Province.
The verdict has not yet been announced, according to an online broadcast of the trial via the Weinan Intermediate People's Court's Sina Weibo account.
Suspects convicted of child trafficking face life imprisonment, Deng Liqiang, director of the legal affairs department at the Chinese Medical Doctor Association, told the Global Times on Monday.
When circumstances are particularly serious, they will be given a death penalty, Deng said.
Zhang, 55, pled guilty and apologized to the relatives of the victims on trial, saying she was deluded by an accomplice into selling babies in the mistaken belief she was helping families in need.
In the first case of a baby being rescued, Zhang allegedly obtained a newborn infant by fooling the mother into thinking it had congenital diseases and convincing her to abandon treatment and allow Zhang to handle the baby on July 16, procurators said.
The mother later realized her baby might have been abducted and reported the case to local police on July 20.
Nine suspects were detained in August, including Zhang. The hospital's president, Wang Li, two other senior hospital managers, and three county officials were dismissed over the matter.
Six children have been rescued. One baby died after being given to Zhang by a hospital cleaner and trafficked for 1,000 yuan ($164.9) in April 2013, procurators said.
Zhang's defense lawyer Sun Lirong told the Global Times on Monday that she presented a petition in court asking for a lighter sentence signed by about 100 of Zhang's patients and relatives.