Orphanage scandal officials punished

Date: 2009-07-03

By Tom Qian

SIX government officials in southwest China have been punished over an orphanage scandal when three children were taken away from their families who could not afford fines for violating family planning regulations.

The orphanage sent the children overseas for adoption from 2004 to 2006, a Guizhou-based newspaper reported today.

The six officials received warnings from the Party or administrative punishments from the local government, according to the Guiyang Evening Post report.

Four of the officials were the former Party secretary Pan Jianguo, former town director Wu Changqing, vice director Tian Rongbao and former assistant director Wang Daohua of Jiaoxi Town in Zhenyuan County, Guizhou Province.

The other two are family planning officials Shi Guangying and Wang Daohua. They asked parents who violated family planning regulations to pay 10,000 yuan (US$1,460) for each extra child. Those who couldn't afford the fine were ordered to give their child to a local orphanage, the paper said.

The orphanage was reportedly earning US$3,000 for each child placed with a foreign family, according to Nanfang Metropolis Daily.

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 December 2003. Family planning official 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 and Wang Daohua sent the girl to an orphanage in Zhenyuan County. 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 to the prospective parents.

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

From June 1995 to June 2009, the orphanage accepted 81 orphans. The report didn't say exactly how many were taken from their families

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