WEINAN, Shaanxi, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese hospital official involved in a baby trafficking case has been sentenced to one year imprisonment for dereliction of duty, a court announced on Friday.
The Linwei District People's Court in Weinan City of northwest China's Shaanxi Province delivered the verdict to Si Xin, former administrator of the delivery rooms at Fuping County Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital at a public hearing.
Si told the court poor management at the hospital, and the fact that she failed to follow regulations and was easily convinced by her leader Zhang Shuxia, the main offender, had allowed Zhang to carry out her trafficking "business."
Three others were also sentenced.
Wang Li, former president of the hospital, was exempt from punishment. Former director of the department of obstetrics Gao Wenping received one year in jail with two years' reprieve. Former deputy president of the hospital Yao Junmin was given six months in prison with one year reprieve.
All four suspects "pleaded guilty and are sorry for their crimes, so they were given lighter punishments according to the law," the court said.
In the case against Wang, there was "insufficient evidence to prove she had intentionally covered up the baby trafficking, though she failed to discover the crimes," Wang's lawyer told the court.
On Jan. 14, Zhang, an obstetrician at the hospital, was sentenced to death with two years' reprieve for selling babies to human traffickers.
Zhang was guilty of selling seven babies, one of whom later died, to traffickers after persuading their parents to give up their "sick" newborns.
The case led to public outrage over baby trafficking and professional ethics of medical workers after Zhang's crimes were exposed in July, when a mother, surnamed Dong, suspected her newborn had been abducted. She reported the incident to police.
Zhang persuaded Dong and her husband to give up their boy after falsely claiming the child had a congenital disease. The baby was found in good condition in neighboring Henan Province on Aug. 5.
Two twin baby girls were also rescued from neighboring Shanxi and Shandong provinces in east China on Aug. 10 after their mother, surnamed Wang, contacted police in Fuping.
In less than a month after the scandal was exposed, police received reports of 55 similar infant trafficking cases, including 26 in which Zhang was allegedly involved. Police investigations found evidence in six of the 26 cases.
Following the scandal, a deputy county governor, director and a deputy director of the county health bureau were dismissed from their posts.