Par­ents still seek­ing child af­ter 18 years

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By ZHENG JINRAN in Shi­ji­azhuang and CAO YIN in Bei­jing zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Anxin county gov­ern­ment in He­bei prov­ince has told a lo­cal court that it can­not pro­vide the in­for­ma­tion nec­es­sary to trace a baby al­legedly taken from her par­ents by of­fi­cials 18 years ago.

The gov­ern­ment told Gaobei­d­ian city court on Tues­day that it “does not have the rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion” nec­es­sary to dis­cover what hap­pened to the child, who was 11 days old when she was taken from her par­ents in 1995.

In 2012, Baod­ing city gov­ern­ment or­dered Anxin county to re­lease in­for­ma­tion on the child’s dis­ap­pear­ance, but the lat­ter re­fused. In midOc­to­ber, the par­ents filed a law­suit in Gaobei­d­ian city court, which agreed to hear the case.

The girl was the third child born into a poor ru­ral fam­ily in Qiao­nan vil­lage, Juan­tou town­ship. She was born il­le­gally on May 28, 1995, and un­der fam­ily plan­ning laws at that time the fam­ily could have re­ceived a fine or other pun­ish­ment.

Xia Jincheng from the vil­lage’s po­lice of­fice asked the par­ents to give the girl away on June 7, 1995, but they re­fused, the Bei­jing Times re­ported.

The par­ents say he led two women to their home the next day and seized the in­fant, leav­ing 400 yuan ($66) be­hind. The news­pa­per quoted Xia Jincheng as say­ing he acted un­der the vil­lage gov­ern­ment’s in­struc­tion.

“I ran out to save my sis­ter but failed be­cause I was too young,” said Liu Qun­ling, the el­dest son, now 28.

The cou­ple im­me­di­ately be­gan to search for the child, ap­proach­ing the town­ship gov­ern­ment three days later and ask­ing for the baby’s re­turn.

Re­buffed, the cou­ple filed a law­suit against Juan­tou town­ship in 2003. The Baod­ing In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court sub­se­quently re­jected that suit.

Then, last year, Baod­ing gov­ern­ment re­viewed the mat­ter and or­dered Anxin county of­fi­cials to re­lease all nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion within 15 days. County au­thor­i­ties have so far pro­duced noth­ing.

The par­ents then filed another law­suit in Oc­to­ber with the Gaobei­d­ian Peo­ple’s Court.

“All we want is to know my sis­ter’s sit­u­a­tion, whether she is alive, and about her life in an adopted fam­ily,” said the brother, adding that his par­ents, now in their 60s, are in de­clin­ing health, some­thing he at­tributes to their strug­gle to find their child.

Anxin county gov­ern­ment said on Tues­day that it can only make pub­lic the in­for­ma­tion that it has. It added that the par­ents should get more in­for­ma­tion from the town­ship.

“The county and the town­ship passed the buck for years,” said Lin Feng, the fam­ily’s lawyer.

An of­fi­cial from Anxin county gov­ern­ment said the county would not com­ment be­yond its re­sponse to the court.

Yang Wei­dong, a law pro­fes­sor at the Chi­nese Academy of Gov­er­nance, said the case arose from an un­rea­son­able gov­ern­men­tal ac­tion, and can be ap­pealed at any time.

“The lo­cal gov­ern­ment could not take the child away, no mat­ter what the ex­cuse is — or in other words, it was an im­proper gov­ern­men­tal ac­tion,” he said.

WANG NAN / FOR CHINA DAILY

Xia Fengge (left) of He­bei prov­ince shows the um­bil­i­cal cord of her daugh­ter, who was al­legedly taken away by vil­lage of­fi­cials 18 years ago.

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