A Chinese obstetrician who trafficked seven infants has been given a suspended death sentence. She convinced the parents to give up their healthy babies by telling them that the babies were dying of fabricated incurable diseases.
Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated, “Our hearts go out to the parents who gave up their newborns because this obstetrician, whom they trusted, lied to them and told them that their children were dying of an incurable disease. We can only imagine the sense of betrayal they must feel.”
According to a Voice of America report, the court papers state that Zhang sold seven babies to traffickers. She received more than twice as much for a baby boy ($7,700) as she did for a baby girl ($3,300). She did not, however, act alone. Local officials, the head of the hospital, and the head of the local health department have been fired.
Yet the corruption of this obstetrician and the local officials surrounding her is just the tip of the iceberg. According Wu Xinghu, who lost his own newborn to traffickers five years ago, hospital complicity with trafficking is not unusual. Wu told VOA that Zhang Shuxia “was a scapegoat when the case became too big to be covered up.”
While official numbers do not exist, experts have estimated that between 70,000 and 200,000 children are trafficked each year in China. The U.S. Department of State’s 2013 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report downgraded China to being a Tier 3 nation, a status it now shares with Iran, Libya, Sudan and North Korea.
Littlejohn continued, “The One Child Policy is the driving force in this trafficking. Couples who do not have a son want to obtain a boy through trafficking. Couples who already have a son may want to traffic a girl into their family, to ensure that their son will have a bride when he grows up. In China, the marriage market is on the road to collapse. Because of the pronounced gender imbalance caused by gendercide – the selective abortion of baby girls — there are currently about 37 million more males living in China than females.” The 2013 TIP Report states, “The [Chinese] government did not address the effects its birth limitation policy had in creating a gender imbalance and fueling trafficking, particularly through bride trafficking and forced marriage.”
Littlejohn is featured as an expert on China’s One Child Policy in the It’s a Girl film, a feature-length documentary about gendercide and forced abortion in China and India.