XI'AN, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- An obstetrician's involvement in baby trafficking and criminality across many provinces, exposed by a court in northwest China's Shaanxi Province on Monday, has hit a national nerve.
The case before Weinan Intermediate People's Court is that Zhang Shuxia, a doctor with Fuping County Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital, sold seven babies, one of whom died, to human traffickers after persuading their parents to give up their "sick" newborns.
Others detained, from at least four provinces in north and east China, transported the babies and found adoptive families for them.
Locally well-known and respected, obstetrician Zhang was to retire gracefully in October and enjoy her later life in comfort, but her dream was shattered by a report to police.
On July 20, a mother, Dong, suspected her baby had been abducted and reported the incident to police. Zhang was suspected of falsely claiming that her child had a congenital disease.
"The doctor told me that my son could not go to school and might endanger society as his mother was infected with syphilis and hepatitis," said the father who was kept out of the delivery room when the baby was born.
Zhang also talked to the baby's grandparents on the father's side and urged them to get rid of the baby on the grounds that boy was incurable.
That same night Zhang sold the baby to Pan from neighboring Shanxi Province for 21,600 yuan (3500 U.S. dollars) hours after she took him home with her. Pan resold the baby to Zhu, a villager from central China's Henan Province, for 59,800 yuan.
The baby, in good condition, was found and returned to his parents on Aug. 5.
The court charges that Zhang was involved in six cases from November 2011 to July 2013, selling seven babies for profit.
Twin baby girls who Zhang sold for 30,000 yuan were rescued from Shanxi and Shandong provinces on Aug. 10 after their mother Wang, complained to police in Fuping.
In April, a baby girl sold by Zhang died and was abandoned.
Nine suspects were detained in August, including Zhang. The hospital president, two other senior hospital managers, and three county officials were dismissed over the matter.
"I am deeply sorry for the pain I have brought to those families and beg for forgiveness," said Zhang, who pled guilty in court.
Shi Ying, vice-president of Shaanxi Academy of Social Sciences said a poor medical care insurance system contributed to the problem of congenitally handicapped babies, exacerbating child trafficking which is already rampant in China.
According to the criminal law, buyers who do not abuse child nor hinder rescue efforts shall not be subject to criminal liability.
"This buyer's market generates a huge demand and should not be overlooked in curbing human trafficking," said Zhang Zhiwei, a campaigner against child trafficking from China University of Political Science and Law.