The Press

Internet market for babies stopped


CHINA: Chinese authoritie­s have shut a series of online chat groups used to trade babies for cash.

The chat groups were used by people saying they were parents advertisin­g their babies for illegal adoption. Buyers in turn stated what kind of child they were looking to purchase and posted money offers.

The groups cost 10 yuan (NZ$2) to join and were closed last week. The internet authoritie­s said they had ‘‘violated official rules’’.

Before the shutdown, members posted details of their location, whether they wanted to buy or sell a baby and for the former, their preferred gender of a potential adopted child. Orders for unborn babies could also be placed.

One message in a group read: ‘‘I am an 18-year-old girl with a two month-old baby of perfect physical health. Anyone willing to give me 30,000 yuan, the baby will be yours.’’ Some couples offered up to 70,000 yuan for a baby.

In China only orphans, abandoned children with parents who cannot be found, and children whose parents cannot care for them due to extreme circumstan­ces can be adopted legally. Those eligible for adoption must be under the age of 14.

Many of those turning to the chat groups to find babies were probably put off legal adoption by the cumbersome nature of doing it through official channels. Tough regulation makes it hard to be approved as an adopter.

Many of those who used the groups said they wanted to buy baby boys but sellers tended to offer girls. China has a gender imbalance of about 118 boys born for every 100 girls, and it is thought many baby girls are abandoned due to boys being favoured. – The Times

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