Chinese doctor detained over baby trafficking

BEIJING (AP) — Local authorities have detained nine people, including an obstetrician, on suspicion of baby trafficking at a hospital in northwestern China, state media reported.

Three government officials and three hospital managers at Fuping County Maternal and Child Health Care in Shaanxi province were also fired over the baby trafficking scandal, the official Xinhua News Agency reported late Friday.

Among the detained suspects is Zhang Shuxia, an obstetrician at the hospital who abducted newborns by sometimes falsely claiming the infants were born with congenital problems, it said.

Xinhua said police had received 55 reports of child abductions and that Zhang allegedly was involved in 26 of them.

It said police had rescued twin baby girls and located a third child, all taken from the Fuping hospital.

Despite severe legal punishments, including the death penalty, child trafficking is a big problem in China. It is very profitable for the traffickers, and demand is strong, driven partly by the traditional preference for male heirs, a strict one-child policy and ignorance of the law.

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