China: Authorities detain hospital chief over alleged role in child abductions

Ella Castle

The head of a hospital in China has been detained by authorities following claims by a social media user that the hospital chief was involved in child trafficking and worked with criminal gangs to give new identities to kidnapped children, reported Bloomberg. The social media user has reportedly said that the […]

The head of a hospital in China has been detained by authorities following claims by a social media user that the hospital chief was involved in child trafficking and worked with criminal gangs to give new identities to kidnapped children, reported Bloomberg. The social media user has reportedly said that the head of Jianqiao Hospital in China’s Hubei province was selling birth certificates and similar paperwork to child traffickers that operated across 10 provinces in the country.

According to the claims made by the unnamed social media user, the documents cost about 96,000 yuan (USD 13,180) and the document could be procured within seven days.

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The menace of child abductions was rampant in the years following the 1978 reforms when law enforcement wasn’t as efficient and parents had to move across the country often leaving children unsupervised. The issue hence finds resonance among the Chinese even today.

The People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, said on Tuesday (November 7) that law enforcement would “investigate and deal with the matter seriously with impartiality” and a public explanation will be released.

Public anger in past

There have been times in the past when the Chinese public grew angry with the government, a relatively rare occurrence, over child kidnapping. The public outrage in past appears to have nudged the government machinery into action.

Officials in Jiangsu province faced allegations of downplaying a case last year. A mother of eight children was found chained in a rural hut. She was chained at the neck. An alumni of Peking University signed a letter sent to the central government and demanded action. This sort of public challenge to the government is rare in the country. China censored the letter.

The latest case of the birth certificate scandal is already showing signs that people might be interested in the investigation. Bloomberg reported that the hashtag connected to this case was viewed 200 million times on the popular social media platform Weibo.

The Chinese government is making greater efforts to tackle child abductions. Last year, China’s Ministry of Public Security said that women and child abductions were down by 88 per cent over the last decade. The government has now set up a system which sends broad alerts so that law enforcement agencies are better informed and better coordinated to tackle human trafficking and abductions.

(With inputs from agencies)

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