Kids taken in adoption scam

Date: 2009-07-02

AN orphanage in southwest China has been accused of taking children away from parents who can't afford fines for violating family planning policy and sending the kids overseas for adoption.

The orphanage was reportedly earning US$3,000 for each child placed with a foreign family.

The allegations involve family planning officials in Zhenyuan County, Guizhou Province. They demanded that parents who violated childbirth regulations pay 10,000 yuan (US$1,460) for each extra offspring, according to Nanfang Metropolis Daily.

Those who couldn't afford the fine were ordered to give their child to a local orphanage, the paper said.

Lu Xiande, a farmer in Zhenyuan, had his fourth daughter taken by the orphanage in June 2004, according to the report.

Lu's daughter was born in February 2003. A family planning official identified as Shi Guangying approached Lu's wife, Yang Shuiying, and told her that the government would take her daughter because she couldn't pay the fine, the paper said.

Shi told the newspaper that the taking of the child was in line with county policies. Several other local residents reported similar experiences, the newspaper said.

The orphanage was funneling the children into China's system for foreign adoptions, the paper reported.

Overseas families sent applications through adoption agencies in their countries to a state-backed adoption center in China. The center collected information about abandoned and orphaned children from around country, including the Zhenyuan orphanage, and sent it the adoptive families.

If a child was chosen, the orphanage received US$3,000 from the adoptive family.

The Zhenyuan orphanage claimed all its children were abandoned or orphaned, the newspaper reported.

Evidence showed that many "orphans" from the Zhenyuan facility had, in fact, been taken from their parents by local cadres, according to Tang Jian of Zhenyuan's family planning bureau.

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