By Claire Wang | 2011-5-10 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
OFFICIALS with the family-planning authority in central China's Hunan Province have been taking away babies from families who fell foul of the country's family planning rules and putting them up for adoption, it has been revealed.
The babies were sent to welfare homes which could earn a lot of money from foreigners wishing to adopt them. The homes were even reported to have conspired with human-traffickers to buy babies for adoption by foreign families, yesterday's New Century Weekly reported.
China introduced its family-planning policy in 1980 to tame population growth. Families who give birth to extra children face hefty fines.
The family-planning department of Longhui County in Hunan imposed the most stringent measures to crack down on violations and fines collected from villagers became a major source of its income. It even closely tied bonuses, promotion and personal performance ratings with how many cases each official busted, the magazine reported.
"They just abducted your babies starting from 2000," said a villager called Yuan Chaoren, who had been fined previously for having extra children. In order to get the babies back, villagers were charged up to 10,000 yuan (US$1,540) by the officials.
By the end of 2005, at least 16 children had been snatched away by officials in Gaoping Town in Hunan, according to the magazine.
Dozens of officials usually surrounded the house of the target family and forcefully grabbed away the baby. The only way to get the baby back was to pay the fine, which most villagers in the poverty-stricken town could not afford.
Officials could get 1,000 yuan from local welfare homes after they sent the abducted children there.
Jiang Dewei, director of a children's welfare home in Shaoyang City in Hunan, said overseas families usually paid US$3,000 to adopt a child.
One out of four internationally adopted children by American families came from China in 2010, according to the Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions released by the US Office of Children's Issues last December.
A total of 3,401 Chinese children were adopted by Americans last year.