Chinese baby girl ‘was sold for US$9,000 via online agent by broke parents’

Couple and agent detained for allegedly arranging sale of couple’s daughter after they struggled to support themselves

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2018, 4:54pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2018, 4:54pm

A young couple have been detained by police in central China for allegedly selling their newborn daughter to an online buyer through an agent, a local newspaper has reported.

Police in Xishui township, in Hubei province, were asked by the national public security ministry at the beginning of August to investigate a cross-province child-trafficking case in cooperation with police in Hunan province, and detained the suspects last Thursday, according to the Hubei-based Chutian Metropolis Daily.

The accused parents – a 19-year-old man surnamed Gao who works as a takeaway restaurant delivery driver and a 20-year-old woman surnamed Zhang, both from Hubei – felt under financial pressure having already had a son last year, Xishui police said via Weibo, China’s Twitter.

In April, the couple allegedly contacted an online agent in Hunan province surnamed Zhu, found a buyer for their daughter and sold her for 65,000 yuan (US$9,440), of which Zhu allegedly pocketed 20,000 yuan, according to the report.

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The couple and agent remained in detention and had yet to be prosecuted, the report stated. It was unclear whether the alleged buyer of the daughter had been traced.

Under Chinese law, trafficking and selling women and children is commonly punishable by five to 10 years in prison, but life sentences or death penalties can also be issued.

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Zhou Kai, a lawyer at Jiangsu Tianzhe law firm, based in Nanjing in eastern China, told the South China Morning Post an agent found guilty of the offence risks a longer sentence because it is unlikely to be an isolated case, while the law contains a clause under which someone buying a child could expect a sentence of less than three years.

The authorities would assess whether other relatives could raise a child whose parents had sold them, then, if they could not, would put them up for adoption through childcare institutions, Zhou said.