Buyers must be held to account in baby trafficking case

By Yu Jincui Source:Global Times Published: 2013-8-7 23:33:01

Zhang Shuxia, an obstetrician at the Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital in Fuping county, Shaanxi Province, made headlines recently due to her involvement in a baby trafficking scandal. Zhang allegedly sold several babies to traffickers after fooling the parents into thinking that their newborn babies had serious congenital diseases and convincing them to give the infants up. It was reported that the police are investigating 10 similar cases. Zhang has been arrested.

The public deplored the scandalous actions of Zhang who, being a doctor, is supposed to help, care for and protect children. The involvement of medical staff in the trafficking chain particularly touched a raw nerve of the public.

Many attribute the baby trafficking in Fuping to the moral degradation of medical professionals, a lack of legal awareness among medical staff and loopholes within the healthcare system.

Once child trafficking cases are exposed, people are used to pointing their fingers at the traffickers, calling for them to be severely punished. With the Fuping case, Zhang is undoubtedly the target of criticism and was condemned as a "cold-blooded and morally degraded devil."

Without question, Zhang deserves severe punishment. However, this is not enough to prevent future baby trafficking.  

Baby trafficking has become a national concern in recent years. Non-governmental organizations and people at grass-roots level have also spontaneously initiated activities to rescue trafficked and abducted children, such as the "Baby come home" website ( which allows parents to post photos of their missing children and browse pictures of homeless children.

However, baby trafficking remains a severe problem and thousands of children are reportedly kidnapped every year.

If there is a demand, baby trafficking will still prevail despite a tight crackdown. In some rural areas of China, a traditional patriarchal mentality continues to dominate. Families with no sons try to buy a boy to continue the family line, which makes baby trafficking profitable.

On Monday, a mother wept and knelt to thank the local police for recovering her son, who had been sold by Zhang for 21,600 yuan ($3,527) in July. The boy was finally resold for 60,000 yuan to a couple in Henan Province who have three daughters.

Even after the abducted children are rescued, we rarely hear of buyers receiving severe punishment. In fact, as long as they don't disturb the police's rescue efforts or abuse the abducted children, they won't be severely punished.

Fighting against baby trafficking calls for efforts on two fronts: curbing supply as well as demand. Both traffickers and buyers must realize there is a heavy penalty for their actions.

Posted in: Observer

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