In May this year, the Family Planning Department of Shaoyang City was accused of taking away infants by force over the past few years from dozens of families in order to meet the requirements of China’s one-child policy. The infants, placed in an orphanage, were then sold abroad in the name of adoption.
When exposed, the scandal shocked the public.
On Sept. 28, the investigation was finally published. Yet to the public’s outrage, the 12 officials involved were charged with no crimes, sanctioned instead by simply being expelled from the Chinese Communist Party and removed from their work functions in the Hunan province city offices.
What this means is that neither of the institutes involved in Shaoyang bear criminal liability; a serious tragedy that has stirred turmoil both inside and outside of China is a case where nobody is responsible.
The investigation concluded that Shaoyang Family Planning staff forcibly took infants away from their parents, and the orphanage profited from having arranged adoption for these children. Also, according to the investigation’s findings, the two public departments did not enter into collusion, and thus the accusation of infant trafficking was not justified.
According to previous reports, some of the adopted infants were not “abandoned babies” as the authority claimed, but the kidnapped biological children of the parents involved. This is why it was particularly shocking when the scandal was disclosed.
The survey concluded that the parents should bear the responsibility because they had initially hidden the blood relation. What lies behind this is a very cruel reality. Some of the parents who had more than one child, in order to avoid trouble with their local family planning bureaucrats, and to avoid paying the “social compensation fee,” often concealed the real blood ties of their children.
In other words, the means these desperate parents had employed to avoid the harsh punishment from the one-child policy is now used as the defense of these officials.
"Donations" from foreign parents
This rogue means of the authorities shirking their responsibility is also seen in the other conclusions of the report. For example, the report stated that there were no financial relations between the family planning office, the local Interior Ministry office, and the orphanage. According to the regulation concerning foreign adoption in China, and international practice, it’s legal for the Shaoyang orphanage to accept a donation from the foreign adoptive parents and adoptive organizations.
One can’t deny these facts. But again, another truth lies behind the excuses: the local officials kidnapped these infants to benefit from the “social compensation fees” and the potential donations that the orphanage could get from the foreigners. We have seen many media reports that “these fees had been a major financial resource of certain poor rural regions.”
The false “truth” of the official findings hardly reveal the whole truth. We need a true conclusion that can stand the test of time. But that’s precisely the reason why the survey tries to deny the truth. Because the acts of these officials are too heinous and the nature of the scandal is so grave, that recognizing the facts will arouse public opinion and grab the attention of the international press. And indeed, at that point, just punishing a few Shaoyang officials won’t be enough to resolve the problem.
Bypassing the larger truth skirts the essence of the problem, avoiding the accountability of officials at an even higher level. But the tragedy remains that those parents have nowhere to pursue justice, and most important of all, have lost their children forever.
Read the original article in Chinese
photo - Wootang01