A baby cries on a weighing scale at a local hospital in Suining, in southwest China's Sichuan province.
BEIJING (AP) - A Chinese doctor has admitted in court that she stole
babies from the hospital where she worked and sold them to human
traffickers, state media and a court said.
Zhang Shuxia, a locally
respected and soon-to-retire obstetrician, stood trial on Monday in
northern Shaanxi province's Fuping county, according to online postings
from the court.
Zhang told parents their newborns had congenital
problems and persuaded them to "sign and give the babies up," the court
postings said. Calls to the Weinan Intermediate People's Court and the
local Communist Party propaganda department went unanswered.
case exposed the operations of a baby trafficking ring that operated
across several provinces centering on Zhang, who delivered babies at the
Fuping County Maternal and Child Hospital.
Child trafficking is a
big problem in China, despite severe legal punishments that include the
death penalty. Families who buy trafficked children are driven partly
by the traditional preference for male heirs, a strict one-child policy
and ignorance of the law.
The indictment said that from November
2011 to July 2013, she sold seven babies to middlemen who sold the
babies to "couples" in central and eastern China. Six of the babies were
rescued, but one that was trafficked for $165 in April later died.
was found out when a mother suspected her baby had been abducted and
reported her to police in July. The official Xinhua News Agency reported
that Zhang had taken the baby home with her and sold him to a man in a
neighboring province for $3,600 the same night. He in turn resold the
baby to a villager in central China for $9,900. Several other suspects
have been detained in at least four provinces, Xinhua said.
The case has added to public frustration with China's medical profession over rampant bribery and other abuses.
Beijing Times newspaper called for a "fair punishment" for Zhang to
deter other doctors. "It will inject the authoritativeness of law into
professional ethics of doctors and will warn doctors not to take the
wrong step that brings them lifelong regret," the paper said.
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