[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Jul 23 15:31:27 CDT 2004
China convicts 52 of baby trafficking, sentences some to death, life in
A court convicted 52 members of a baby-trafficking gang Friday, sentencing
the ringleaders to death or life in prison.
The case included a highly publicized incident in March in which 28 baby
girls, none older than 3 months, were found hidden in nylon tote bags
aboard a long-distance bus, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
The convictions highlighted the scale of China's thriving black market in
babies and came less than two weeks after police announced the arrests of
95 people in northern China in an unrelated baby-trafficking ring.
In the ruling Friday, a court in the city of Nanning sentenced gang
leaders Xie Deming and Cui Wenxian to death, Xinhua said. Four others were
given suspended death sentences, a penalty that is often later commuted to
life in prison.
5 gang members received life in prison, while 40 others were sentenced to
at least 18 months, Xinhua said. One person was convicted but received no
penalty, the report said without explanation.
The ring was based in the city of Yulin in the southern region of Guangxi,
one of China's poorest areas.
Chinese authorities say thousands of children are abducted or bought from
poor families every year for sale to childless couples. Girls are
sometimes sold as brides in rural areas with fewer women.
The trade is driven in part by China's birth control policy, which limits
most couples to one child. The limit prompts some parents to kill baby
girls in hopes of trying again for a boy. A purchased child that is
registered as adopted doesn't trigger the large fines or other penalties
imposed by the "one child" policy.
According to Xinhua, Xie bought infants from midwives, health care workers
or other baby-traffickers in Yulin and passed them on to Cui, who had them
smuggled to buyers as far away as northern China.
Babies were drugged to keep them asleep while being smuggled, leading to
at least one death, Xinhua said.
The baby girls found in March at a rest stop in Guangxi were bound for the
eastern province of Anhui, according to police. They said they were acting
on a tip when they searched the bus.
The Xinhua report named 12 employees of 2 Yulin hospitals who allegedly
sold babies for $12 to $24 each.
Authorities said earlier that no families had claimed the babies rescued
in March, and the report Friday gave no details of what happened to them.
Local officials said they might wind up being raised in orphanages.
Communist authorities -- led by Mao Zedong, who famously remarked that
women "hold up half the sky" -- prided themselves on raising the status of
women. Upon taking power in 1949, they ended the prewar custom of selling
unwanted daughters to brothels or as servants.
But the trade has flourished amid looser social controls and tighter
enforcement of birth control rules meant to limit the growth of China's
population of 1.3 billion people.
In the case earlier this month, authorities on July 13 announced the
arrests of gang members who they said sold 76 infants bought from clinics
in the northern city of Hohot, capital of the Inner Mongolia region.
(source: Associated Press)
More information about the DeathPenalty