Hospital director in Central China's Hubei reportedly sells birth certificates; investigation is underway
Published: Nov 07, 2023 08:20 PM
Photo: Screenshot from CITY Report

Photo: Screenshot from CITY Report

The director of a hospital in Central China's Hubei Province was reported on Monday to have openly sold birth certificates, earning over 60,000 yuan ($8,241) for each, with the local health authority stating on the same day that the public security department has initiated an investigation. 

Netizens commented that these sold birth certificates were likely to be used to register abducted children, keeping them from being found. 

According to the Health Commission of Xiangyang on Tuesday afternoon, a special team was deployed to the hospital involved in the incident on Monday night. They worked overnight to interview relevant personnel and seal related documents for further investigation. 

Currently, the obstetrics and gynecology department of the hospital has suspended operations for rectification. The individuals responsible have been taken into custody, and the hospital director has been subjected to criminal coercive measures and is under investigation. The special team has also met with the whistleblower to obtain relevant materials. The related issues are currently being further investigated and verified.

A journalist from CITY Report, a program of Henan Broadcasting System, conducted a secret investigation at Jianqiao Hospital in Xiangyang in Hubei Province for over a month. The journalist managed to contact an intermediary involved in the sale of birth certificates, who said that for a payment of 96,000 yuan, a genuine and verifiable medical certificate of birth for a baby could be arranged. Furthermore, the hospital offered the option to register the child's residency first before payment.

With the introduction of the intermediary, the journalist successfully obtained a birth certificate for a "virtual" baby, even without the presence of the baby and only providing relevant information such as the baby's name. This was achieved with the personal involvement of the director of this private hospital surnamed Ye. Furthermore, even the forged mother's medical records and the baby's vaccination records were successfully filed at the hospital.

The intermediary who sold birth certificates stated that out of the 96,000 yuan, 66,000 yuan was a commission for the hospital director, while the remaining amount was divided among delivery room staff.

The investigation was taken by the journalist together with an anti-human trafficking volunteer nicknamed Shangguan Zhengyi on social media platform, who exclaimed that the action was shocking and horrifying beyond imagination.

The volunteer wrote in his Weibo that he had been undercover for over a year and had learnt the collusion between the director of Xiangyang Jianqiao Hospital in Hubei and multiple online intermediaries in various locations. They used social media platform Douyin to openly sell birth certificates, including hospital discharge records, and vaccine records, in order to produce fake identities of abducted children. 

He claimed that the gang also sells babies, with prices for both boys and girls exceeding 100,000 yuan, involving more than 10 provinces across the country.

The volunteer said on Tuesday that the hospital director suspected of selling birth certificates and babies is under police control. 

The Health Commission of Xiangyang on Monday stated that it had been monitoring media reports and immediately contacted the public security department and the health supervision bureau to initiate an investigation. At the same time, special arrangement has been made to contact relevant informants and ask for support. Further updates will be provided based on the results of a full investigation . 

According to the CITY Report, the medical certificate of birth is known as the first certificate in life, which is a crucial proof for identifying a child's identity and obtaining household registration. It is also a necessary basis and evidence for a child's vaccination, medical insurance enrollment, and application for social security card.

"We have committed a capital offense," said Ye, director of the involved hospital. This reflected that Ye was well aware of the seriousness of selling birth certificates, but she still chose to take a risk.

The issue has sparked heated discussions among netizens on social media platforms. Some people commented that the dean's actions fundamentally extinguished the possibility of finding the abducted children. "This prevents more lost children from returning home and causes more families to be broken apart," a netizen wrote. 

Other netizens said that this may provide convenience for registering surrogate children, as surrogacy is illegal in China.

The public are calling on relevant departments to thoroughly investigate this matter and severely punish those involved.