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China issues ban on private adoption of abandoned infants|
Source: Agencies | 2013-6-19 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
Ten orphans, who have all proved academically gifted, receive cash from a representative of a business in Neijiang City in southwest China's Sichuan Province at a ceremony announcing continuing financial support until they complete their undergraduate programs.
CHINA has announced a ban on individuals and groups privately adopting abandoned infants in a country where tens of thousands are abandoned each year and baby trafficking has been a perennial problem.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs said people who find an abandoned child must immediately tell local residential committees and the police and not adopt the child at will.
The abandonment of children is a major problem in China. Its strict one-child policy - which limits most urban couples to one child and rural couples to two if their first-born is a girl - and a traditional preference for boys result in the abandonment of girls and disabled children. Poverty and the social stigma for unwed mothers are also factors.
China's adoption law forbids baby trafficking and trafficking abandoned babies in the name of adoption, but doesn't mention whether individuals are allowed to keep abandoned babies. The new rules that forbid keeping such babies are outlined in a document posted on the Ministry of Civil Affairs's website.
The new rules say people wanting to adopt must go through official channels and meet requirements, which under Chinese law include being healthy, over 30 and childless.
People who use abandoned children for illegal and profitable ends will be severely punished, the new rules say.
The document also sets out measures that should be taken when an abandoned baby is found, requiring that police try to track down the parents or guardians, and transfer children to a government-sanctioned nursing home for temporary care if they fail. These homes should only take the children under official care if no guardian is found within a certain period.
China's chronically underfunded state orphanage system has been unable to adequately provide shelter for many of the children who have been abandoned, and such services have often been left to private citizens with few resources and no legal authority.
In January, the issue was highlighted when a fire at an illegal orphanage killed six children and a young adult.
Zhou Xiaozheng of Renmin University's School of Society and Population Studies told The Associated Press that around 200,000 babies were abandoned in China each year.
"It's good for the government to strengthen its management of abandoned children, but it will also bring revenue to the government because any potential adopters must pay a handsome adoption fee," Zhou said.