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China: Around The Nation

Siblings arrested for offering baby gender tests in southern China

Brother and sister, who operated from a minivan fitted with an ultrasound machine, were nabbed following a newspaper investigation

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 9:34am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 9:33am

A brother and sister have been arrested in southern China for providing an illegal gender determination service, according to local media.

The couple travelled around Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, in a minivan with an ultrasound scanner in the back and curtains over its windows, New Express Daily reported on Sunday.

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Expectant mothers were charged between 300 and 500 yuan (US$44 to US$74) for the information, which was provided by the sister. Neither she nor her brother, whose principal role was driving the vehicle, were named in the report.

Determining the sex of an unborn baby is illegal in mainland China. Under the one-child policy, which came to an end last year, male children were strongly favoured and female foetuses would often be aborted.

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A young pregnant woman who took part in an undercover operation organised by the newspaper described the sister as being in her 40s.

The suspect claimed she had been in the business for 17 years and could tell the sex of an unborn child within two minutes, the report said.

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Local police had been alerted to the couple’s activities and moved in to arrest them as the woman was conducting a consultation. A search of the vehicle yielded a notebook containing 40 telephone numbers and addresses, the report said, without elaborating.

The two suspects were detained pending a full investigation, it said.

On China’s mainland it is illegal even for doctors to reveal the sex of unborn children, though the practice does go on, especially in private hospitals, the report said.

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According to official figures, China had 30 million more males than females last year. Such a discrepancy has led to demographic experts discussing the feasibility of “importing” females from other countries.