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    By staff reporter Shangguan Jiaoming 05.10.2011 19:10

    In Hunan, Family Planning Turns to Plunder

    Families in a poor mountainous region have had children seized, and apparently sold, in the name of China's one-child policy

    (Shaoyang) – On a long journey in search of his lost child, Yang Libing carries a single photograph. It's a faded snapshot of his daughter Yang Ling, who this year turns seven years old.

    Family planning agency cadres in the poor mountain town where Yang Libing lived with his wife Cao Zhimei seized their daughter in 2005 and shipped her to an orphanage because they didn't pay afford a 6,000 yuan penalty – so-called "social support compensation" – for violating China's one-child policy.

    The nearly three-decade-old policy limits parents to a single offspring with certain exceptions. Authorities decided that the family of Yang Ling had overstepped strict bounds imposed by family planners in their hometown Gaoping and Longhui County, near the city of Shaoyang in Hunan Province.

    (Yang Libing's son holds a photo of a girl that resembles his sister, Yang Ling, who now lives in the U.S.)

    Local officials decided to take a tough – arguably inhumane – stand for central government population controls by claiming rights to the toddler and, as the parents have argued since 2009, allowing her to be sold into adoption abroad.

    Not only did the decision to confiscate the little girl serve to punish the parents, leaving them with mere memories and a worn baby photo, but it also provided operating cash for the local government.

    Indeed, a Caixin investigation found that children in many parts of Hunan have been sold in recent years and wound up, sometimes with help from document forgers and complacent authorities, being raised by overseas families who think they adopted Chinese orphans.

    The official China Center of Adoption says more than 100,000 orphans and disabled Chinese children were adopted by families abroad until last year. The largest number now lives in the United States.

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