Home Contact Us  

China - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4015, 30 June 2013
China: Child Abduction and Trafficking
Namrata Hasija
Research Officer, CRP, IPCS
Email: namrata@ipcs.org

China National Radio reported in June that around 200,000 children disappear every year. Only 0.1 per cent of them are found and returned to their families. An art exhibition was organised on 1 June 2013 by Li Yueling, volunteers working for the cause displaying photos of 61 missing children along with documentaries of their parents. Though official data is patchy but a substantial number of these children are trafficked within China.

What is fuelling child abduction in China? What is the extent of these abductions? What steps are being undertaken by the Chinese government to prevent the abduction? Who are involved in these abductions?

Children across China are being abducted by human traffickers and sold for adoption, labour or household servants or prostitution. A major reason due to which the problem germinated and has become so entwined with the Chinese society is the One-Child Policy.  The One-Child Policy has led to a burgeoning black market in stolen children, at least 70,000 a year. Due to the cultural bias for a male child couples having the first chid as a daughter and rural households having two daughters desire a male child. This bias plus lax adoptive laws have also led to this social evil thriving in China.

The main targets are baby boys though girls are also abducted for the purpose of selling them as labourers and prostitution. Although some are sold to buyers in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, most of the boys are purchased domestically by families desperate for a male heir. The chain of kidnapping, transferring and selling has become so strong that in some provinces such as Guangdong children are kidnapped, transferred out of town within half an hour and finally sold in another town. Su Qingcai, a tea farmer in Fujian Province, admitted buying a 5-year-old boy for the equivalent of $3,500, even though Mr. Su already had a teenage daughter. “A girl is just not as good as a son,” Mr. Su said in an interview to the New York Times, “It doesn’t matter how much money you have. If you don’t have a son, you are not as good as other people who have one.” There are large criminal gangs which have nationwide networks. These gangs are also involved in cross border trafficking with other countries for example Vietnam and Myanmar. In May 2013 one such racket was busted and ten Vietnamese children were returned to Vietnam. 

There have been numerous reports that in many cases where children are born in violation of the One-Child Policy they are forcefully taken by officials and registered in orphanages to be further sold abroad for adoption. In a report by Caixin Century magazine, sixteen babies were seized in Hunan who were born in violation of the One-Child Policy. The office would get thousand renminbi for each child whereas the orphanage would receive US$ 3,000 to 5000 as adoption fees. Parents interviewed in this report claimed that after 2000 if the violators of One-Child Policy are unable to pay the fine their children are abducted by the officials.

The new department set up to look into child abductions in 2007 says that they have solved 54000 cases of trafficked children from 2007 to 2012. The government has taken some measures to control the growing menace. An action plan for fighting human trafficking 2013-2020 has been formulated with relevant international conventions and Chinese laws. The ministry also keep a missing children database with their DNA profiling. Special offices to investigate child abduction cases have been set up and increased coordination across twenty different provinces has led to a decrease in child abduction cases according to officials. The officials, activists and parents have taken the help of social media to share information about the abducted children and also draw public attention to the problem. They post photographs of kidnapped children on website and in some cases parents have been able to locate their children. People also post pictures of children whom they suspect might have been kidnapped and sold in their neighbourhood.

Despite efforts from officials, activists and citizens the problem is increasing though the numbers of kidnapped children have come down due to some recent crackdowns. The reasons are official corruption on the one hand and the raison d'être which has initiated the whole process in the first place. There have been reports of officials being involved with the trafficking gangs as the business is lucrative. The act of buying an abducted child is a criminal act; however no criminal liability has been affixed to it. People get away with punishment in form of monetary fines. Even the orphanages sometimes fail to take the DNA of the children they receive and eventually give them away for adoption which lessens the chances of verifying whether the children were abducted or not.

Though stricter laws and crackdowns might lead to a lowering of child trafficking but the One-Child Policy would continue to create a demand for it and create social fissures in Chinese society.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee

Related Articles
D Suba Chandran,
"Securing the First Line of Defence," 30 May 2013
Avinash Godbole,
"China’s One-Child Policy: Origins, Status and Implications," 14 September 2011

Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
China: Bo Xilai Inspires a New Party?

Nalanda University as a Cultural and Educational Bridge

China: New Urbanisation Plans

Bo Xilai: China's Trial of the Century

China: A Source of Cyber Attacks?

China: The Plight of Sex Workers

China: The Outbreak of Bird Flu 2013

China: Environmental Degradation and Government Response

China: Reformed Labour Camps?

China: Sweeping Hukou Reforms?

China: Surge in Sex Scandals

China’s Wukan Uprising: Is the Honeymoon Over?

China: Human Flesh Search Engines

Christianity in China: Changing Domestic Attitudes?

China’s One-Child Policy: The Debate Revives

China: Voices of Dissent

China's Wukan Uprising: First Step towards Democracy?

Chinawood: Not yet up to Hollywood?

Chinese Black Jails: 'An Alleyway in Hell'?

Widening Gender Imbalance in China

Rising Suicide Rates among Rural Women in China

Red Tourism: A Thriving Economic Industry or a Tool for Ideological Propaganda?

Li Na and China: Sports as Soft Power?

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.