Doctor Confesses to Theft and Sale of Newborns

December 31, 2013 Updated: December 31, 2013

A doctor from northern China’s Shaanxi Province, on trial for the abduction and sale of seven newborn infants, has confessed to her crimes, revealing a trafficking ring spanning four provinces, according to the state-run People’s Daily. Six of the children were rescued and reunited with their families, but one baby girl was found to have died. 

Between November 2011 and July this year, 55-year-old obstetrician Zhang Shuxia convinced the parents of newborns into giving them up by saying that the children faced major health complications, according to state media Xinhua. She then sold the infants, including one pair of twins, to traffickers. 

Zhang’s scheme was revealed when two suspicious parents contacted the police in July. Zhang, who worked at Shaanxi’s Fuping Maternal and Child Healthcare Hospital, had told the couple that their baby boy had contracted syphilis and hepatitis B from the mother and would not survive. The parents then went to another hospital, where tests found the mother had neither of the diseases.

China’s one-child policy has led to increased demand for infant trafficking, especially of baby boys, due to the traditional preference for sons. Zhang sold the couple’s son to a buyer in neighboring Henan Province for about $3,600, who then resold him for $9,800. The baby was found and returned to his parents in August.

Child trafficking is such a common problem in China that an Internet service, Baobei Huijia, or Baby Come Home, has been established to help parents reunited with their abducted or lost children. 

Zhang has yet to receive a final verdict from the Weinan Intermediate People’s Court, where she was tried. She could face the death penalty, local media reported. 

According to Xinhua, Fuping hospital’s president, two other senior hospital managers and three county officials were also dismissed from their positions.