Chinese officials say they will investigate new reports that more than 17,000 pills made in China from the bodies of babies dying in abortion and miscarriages continue to make their way to South Korea.
As new reports reveal, the pills continue to make their way to the Asian nation despite an August 2011 report that highlighted the controversial practice and efforts by officials in both China and South Korea to crack down on it.
An AP report indicates Chinese state-run media reports the government will look into the new claims.
“Ministry of Health spokesman Deng Haihua said an investigation launched last August found no proof that such capsules were being manufactured in China, the official Xinhua News Agency said,” AP reported. “Deng said in a statement that China would investigate again following new reports of such pills being smuggled into South Korea, Xinhua reported. The statement was not posted on the ministry’s website and calls to the ministry rang unanswered.”
“Deng said Chinese health departments would work with police, customs agencies and commerce authorities to investigate the latest claims,” AP added.
South Korean authorities say they have discovered 35 smuggling attempts since August.
Chinese hospitals and abortion clinics are notifying pharmaceutical companies when a baby dies. The companies purchase the bodies of the deceased children and reportedly store them in private refrigerators of families who are paid to help the companies avoid suspicion by locating the bodies off site.
The documentary says the highly-secretive process involves putting the babies’ bodies in a medical drying microwave and grinding them into pills. The ground baby powder is then placed in a capsule and sold as a stamina enhancer, according to the documentary.
The South Korean television crew acquired the dead baby capsules and ran DNA tests on them — finding they were 99.7 percent human. The tests also found hair and nail remnants and the results were able to identify the sex of the baby whose life ended.
That information was revealed in August and, the London Daily Mail newspaper today reports that more than 17,000 of the pills have been brought into South Korea since the August 2011 report aired.
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The newspaper indicates some of the babies whose bodies are used in the pills reportedly come from “dying rooms” where newborn infants are left to die by families who can’t comply with the one-child policy China institutes. Others come from the bodies of babies killed in the more than 13 million abortions the nation does annually to reduce its population.
The Wall Street Journal also profiled the practice today in a news story and said representatives from the China Ministry of Health did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It also highlighted the practices and beliefs of Asians that allow this grisly trade to flourish.
Demand for the pills has been driven by the belief that the fetus is a “tonic” for disease, the China Daily cited the documentary as saying. Consumption of human placentas is more common in China, where it is believed to help revive blood supply and circulation, according to the China Daily report. A report in the Global Times, a tabloid published by the official People’s Daily, said the human flesh pill were used to enhance sexual performance.
Pills smuggled into Korea have come from China’s northern cities of Yanji, Jilin, Qingdao and Tianjin, the Korean customs statement said.
The Korean customs office has requested an examination of ingredients to determine if a legal import channel can be established for non-hazardous health supplements from China, the statement said.