This has been a topic of major discussion and common knowledge throughout Anhai; I’m not revealing anything you can’t hear tell of in normal conversations about town. (Provided you speak Chinese, that is.)

It’s no secret, of course, that having a male child is highly coveted in China–the continuation of the family line and name is paramount. One of the worst insults you can say to someone in this country, in fact, translates approximately to “May Your Ancestral Line Be Cut Off.”

Unfortunately, some bad elements in society occasionally try to cash in on the preference for males in a mostly one-child policy country.

Sometime in the not too distant past, some of these bad elements began operating a child trafficking ring–male children only–with the intention of smuggling these boys, ages about two months to two years.

Some of the children were acquired, it was determined, by kidnapping. One nearby town called Cizao, in fact, experienced a wave of male child kidnapping from homes that weren’t locked and secured with “maximum security” in mind, though it wasn’t determined whether any of the children in this particular smuggling operation were taken from Cizao.

Other children were acquired, I’m sad to say, because their parents willing sold them to these bad elements. It was also determined that those selling their children to this ring were “immigrants” to Fujian Province–the “Northerners” mentioned in other posts. Both the kidnappers and the parents selling their infant and toddler sons were paid 5000 RMB per child. The plan, more or less, was to bring the children into Anhai and “sell” them into adoption to well-to-do families. (If someone doesn’t work for a government entity, they can afford to have more than one child because they can pay out of their own pockets any expenses that would normally be considered “government benefits.” That’s why you see quite a few families with more than one child born after 1980 around here.)

I’m not sure of the exact number of children being smuggled in this particular operation–my impression is that it was at least 12, and maybe 25 or more. The way they were bringing them to this part of the province, however, was by train. But rather than buying tickets for the kids, the youngsters were drugged into unconsciousness, packed into suitcases and other traveling bags, and stowed under the train car seats. I also didn’t hear how many bad element operatives were accompanying the “shipment,” but this makes me think there were either several, with each person carrying two bags with one or two unconscious children each, or maybe a “bad element” that had infiltrated the train staff was paid to help expedite the shipment.

The local police somehow found out about this operation and intercepted the trafficers with their “cargo.” Unfortunately, two of the children had died–suffocated–in transit.

I wish I could say that the ones who had been kidnapped were returned to their families, but they were not. For reasons I’m not clear on, the authorities were unable to trace where each child had come from and how many were kidnapped vs. sold by their parents. So the decision was made to offer these children for adoption locally, through official channels, going not to the highest well-to-do bidder, but to couples who were unable to have children of their own.

If I understand right, the adoption fee was the same as was going to be charged by the smugglers, 10,000 RMB per child.