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In the name of China’s one-child policy, officials in Hunan Province have been seizing children and using adoption fees to bolster tax revenue.A new report from Caixin related the rise in forced adoption to the abolition of agricultural taxes in 2006, which decimated provincial budgets. In response, family planning fees spiked, from 3,000 yuan per child to more than 10,000. Parents who can’t pay the fee have their children taken and given to orphanages.
Here’s a vivid account of the travesty from the LA Times:
The man from family planning liked to prowl around the mountaintop village, looking for diapers on clotheslines and listening for the cry of a hungry newborn. One day in the spring of 2004, he presented himself at Yang Shuiying’s doorstep and commanded: “Bring out the baby.”
Yang wept and argued, but, alone with her 4-month-old daughter, she was in no position to resist the man every parent in Tianxi feared …
“I’m going to sell the baby for foreign adoption. I can get a lot of money for her,” he told the sobbing mother as he drove her with the baby to an orphanage in Zhenyuan.
The orphanage then posts a notice in the daily newspaper for 60 days. When the child is left unclaimed, the parents unable to read the announcement or pay the fines, the orphanage labels the baby an orphan, records its arrival date as the birthday, and gives each child a new name.
From there, with the help of document forgers and complicit authorities, more than 100,000 Chinese children were adopted by families around the world — the largest portion going to the U.S.— until last year.
Chinese orphanages receive about $3,000 apiece for the “orphans”. Almost 50,000 Chinese infants have been adopted by American families since 2000 at a cost of between $20,000 to 25,000 per child.
10 years after implementing its one-child policy, the Chinese government passed a 1992 law allowing international adoptions.
Children can be seized if they are born to unmarried couples, to parents whose marriage has not been officially recognised, if the parents have exceeded quotas, or if a child is adopted without meeting specific requirements.