BEIJING — Twelve government employees have been fired and stripped of their Communist Party membership after an investigation into allegations that family planning officials kidnapped children in an impoverished rural area in the southern Chinese province of Hunan, People’s Daily, the party’s official newspaper, reported Thursday.
While investigators concluded that the government workers did not engage in “baby trading,” they did find “severe violations” of regulations, according to the newspaper’s Web site, People’s Daily Online. A Hunan-based Web news portal said the officials were guilty of “negligence and handling work in a simplistic way.”
In a scandal that has drawn widespread coverage, parents and grandparents claim that officials from Longhui, a county that is administered by Shaoyang, illegally seized at least 16 children between 1999 and 2006 because of allegations that family planning rules were violated. Caixin Century Weekly, a Chinese magazine, reported in May that some were later adopted by foreigners.
Government investigators examined 14 cases. In one, parents voluntarily surrendered their child because they were unable to provide care. Five other children were deemed abandoned because the facts about their parentage were hidden by “involved persons,” People’s Daily reported. Eight more were taken because they had been illegally adopted by local families.
Investigators found no evidence that the city’s orphanage, the Shaoyang Social Welfare Institute, paid kickbacks to officials who delivered babies, according to the newspaper’s report.