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Trial begins in China baby-trafficking case

Former gynaecologist accused of taking seven babies from their parents saying they had "congenital problems".

Last updated: 31 Dec 2013 17:38
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Zhang is on trial for allegedly selling seven babies taken from her former hospital [Reuters]

A former doctor has gone on trial in connection with alleged trafficking of babies at a hospital in northwest China's Shaanxi province.

Zhang Shuxia, who used to be a doctor with the Fuping County Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital, went on trial on Tuesday at an intermediate court charged with trafficking infants, Reuters news agency reported. 

On July 16, Zhang apparently obtained a newborn baby by falsely claiming that the child had congenital diseases, convincing the mother to abandon treatment and allow the doctor to handle the baby.

The mother, surnamed Dong, later realised that her baby might have been abducted and reported the incident to police on July 20.

The baby was found in a township in Anyang City of neighbouring Henan Province on August 4 and was in good condition.

Zhang and five other suspects involved in the case were detained later on suspicion of human trafficking.

The former gynaecologist has already confessed to involvement in trafficking during a court session on Monday, official state-run news agency Xinhua said.

Xinhua said that Zhang is suspected of stealing a total of seven children from parents who gave birth at the hospital.

'Congenital problems'

Zhang said in court that she had persuaded the parents to give up their children due to "congenital problems", CCTV said.

So far six of the seven children have been recovered and reunited with their parents, while one was found dead.

It is thought that child trafficking in China is an issue due to the restrictive nature of the one-child policy.

Beijing said last month it would allow millions of families to have two children, the most radical relaxation of its strict one-child policy in close to three decades.

The new rules, which will roll out gradually around China, will allow couples in which just one parent is an only child to have a second baby, part of a plan to raise fertility rates and ease the financial burden of China's rapidly ageing population.

The fertility market, especially at the value-end of the scale, could see a short-term spike.

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