Authorities lash out at poor hospital management over trafficking babies

Health authorities order review as more families come forward saying hospital tricked them into giving up their newborns

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 June, 2018, 10:51am

The state health commission has ordered a nationwide review of hospital following the exposure of child-trafficking operation in Shaanxi that involved a hospital maternity doctor who may have collaborated with human traffickers for more than eight years.

Dr Zhang Shuxia , an obstetrician working at the Fuping Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital in Fuping county, allegedly sold a newborn boy after misleading the parents into believing that their child had congenital diseases, then convincing them to give up the boy.

"[The commission's top officials] see it as morally degraded, illegal and intolerable," said Mao Qunan , a spokesman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission said yesterday.

Meanwhile, more families have come forward saying they were also deceived into giving up their children.

State media reported yesterday that the baby boy had been reunited with his parents, mother Dong Shanshan and father Lai Guofeng . "Dong held him tightly as family members wept before the parents knelt to thank police for recovering their infant," the China Daily reported.

Mao said the case illustrated problems involving poor management and regulatory loopholes at some hospitals, Xinhua reported. The commission has ordered Shaanxi health authorities to "severely punish" those responsible in the scandal, and instructed local health authorities across the nation to review and overhaul management where necessary at hospitals.

Citing police sources, the China Daily said the doctor sold the baby for about 21,000 yuan (HK$26,000) to a member of the child-trafficking ring who then resold the child for 50,000 yuan to another suspect, who then handed it to the adopting family for 60,000 yuan. The Beijing Evening News, citing police, reported Zhang started trafficking babies in 2006.

Fan Ningning, a villager who lived in Fuping, said that she gave birth twice in recent years at the same maternity hospital, The Beijing News reported. Fan said she had been told by a doctor to "discard" her babies because they had "congenital diseases". She believes her children are still alive and living with adopting parents.

The Beijing News said she gave birth to a girl in 2008 and a boy in 2009. When a doctor told her the children had congenital diseases, no examinations were performed on them, nor was Fan asked to sign a letter of consent allowing them to be taken away .

Another local villager, Yang Qiujin, said she sent her daughter-in-law to deliver their baby boy at the hospital in 2006 because Zhang was her former classmate. But five days after the baby was born, Zhang began to push Yang to discard the boy as he "had congenital diseases", which she did, the Beijing Evening News reported.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse