A Chinese female doctor was given a suspended death sentenced on Tuesday for selling seven babies to human traffickers, a case that drew massive public outcry against the growing menace of child trafficking.
Zhang Shuxia, an obstetrician with Fuping County Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital in northwestern Shaanxi Province, is accused of selling seven babies, one of whom later died, to human traffickers.
The 55-year-old accused used to persuade the parents of the babies to give up their “sick” newborns, the Weinan Intermediate People’s Court said in its verdict.
She told parents their infants had serious diseases and convinced them to give up the babies, the court said.
Zhang has been sentenced to death, with a two-year reprieve. Suspended death sentences are normally commuted to life imprisonment in China.
Zhang sold seven babies to child traffickers between November 2011 and July 2013, including a pair of twins, a judgement posted on the Weinan Intermediate People’s Court’s microblog said.
Six of the babies were rescued, but one baby girl died.
On July 20, a mother surnamed Dong suspected her baby had been abducted and reported the incident to police.
Zhang is accused of falsely claiming that her child had a congenital disease, according to the court.
“Zhang used her position as medical personnel to fabricate reports about the infants, saying they suffered from birth defects or diseases that were hard to cure. She abducted and sold several new-born infants, violating professional and social ethics,” the court said.
It is not yet clear whether Zhang will appeal.
Zhang and several other suspects were arrested after the most recent abduction case in July.
The parents reported the case to police after they suspected their baby had been trafficked. The baby was found and returned to his parents in August.
Police said they were still investigating 50 related cases, including 26 cases linked to Zhang, and several other suspects were in criminal detention, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Four other officials from the hospital are on trial for suspected dereliction of duty and are awaiting sentencing, the report said.
Zhang received around 20,000 yuan each for several female babies, it added, while a male baby fetched a price of 47,000 yuan in 2011.
Zhang’s actions shocked people across China and exposed the flourishing underground child trafficking industry in the world’s most populous nation which follows one-child policy.