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China vows to seriously punish newborn traffickers

2013-08-07 08:34 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

Those involved in allegedly selling newborn babies to human traffickers are "morally degraded" individuals and "intolerable," China's top health commission spokesman said on Tuesday.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission called for severe punishments, and said it would impose stricter medical service management and strengthen medical ethics education nationwide to prevent such cases in the future, said spokesman Mao Qun'an.

Several newborn babies were allegedly sold to human traffickers by an obstetrician, surnamed Zhang, in Fuping county of northwest China's Shaanxi province, according to local police.

The case is a serious violation of laws and has impacted society, according to Shaanxi authorities.

It has exposed "loopholes in some medical facilities" and "a few medical staff member's lack of legal awareness," the local authorities said in a statement. The authorities added that the case severely infringed upon people's interests and damaged the professional image of medical staff.

Doctor Zhang and five other suspects involved in the case have been detained on suspicion of human trafficking. The hospital's head and her two deputies were sacked on Sunday, the statement said.

A baby was returned to his parents on Monday after DNA tests confirmed the child's identity, police said.

The baby was allegedly sold for 21,600 yuan (3,494 U.S. dollars) by Zhang on the morning of July 17, one day after he was born in Fuping County Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital, according to the county government.

Police said Zhang allegedly obtained the baby by falsely claiming that the child had congenital diseases, convincing the mother to abandon treatment and allow the doctor to take care of the infant.

The mother, a woman surnamed Dong, later realized that her baby might have been abducted and reported the case to police on July 20.

The baby was found in a township in Anyang City of neighboring Henan Province at around 3 a.m. Sunday and was in good condition.

Local police said they are investigating five other similar cases which allegedly occurred in the same hospital.

The Fuping County Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital, as well as medical facilities nationwide, are undergoing an overhaul in relation to relevant laws and regulations in order to enhance legal awareness, ensure medical safety and effectively safeguard people's health rights, according to the health commission.

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