Selling baby girl for 10,000 yuan and ethics of the bottom

| November 8th, 2009

20091107-baby-girl-01

[QQ] The day after the baby girl was born she was already sold to a human trafficker by her grandfather for 10,000 yuan. Facing the police who solved the case, this 66-year-old grandfather said “If he was a baby boy, I would not have given him up for anything.”

Reading this news, I was not surprised. Strictly speaking, this was not news but a reality of life. Every time returning back to home town, I would hear stories like this. On a street in our neighboring village, because there were so many famers buying baby girls, many female head of household carried out their babies in the street in a children beauty contest to see which family had the most beautiful baby girl.

Netizens were shocked when hearing this and asked me: Why don’t you report it? I was even more surprised when they asked, why should I report it?

Common people at the bottom (of the society) have their own ethics of life. To common people at the bottom, the meaning of new and old life is as far away as the clouds in the sky. Their first need is to be able to live. Now the market is more developed, baby girls can be sold for some money, compare to the past, they were only worth 20 sesame seed cakes and 5 liters of millet and so on. Therefore some parents just drowned the baby girl. Poverty of the material things inevitably comes with the poverty of the mind. In common people’s mind, there is only traditional ethic of life. Life, is there such distinction between new and old to them?

Over the years, the sales of children among the Chinese communities had a fixed market and corresponding market conditions. One time when I took my son to see the doctor at the hospital, I was chatting with a woman from a neighboring town. She was very envious of my hometown’s “Children’s market condition”, because she noticed the prices were cheaper than where she was.

According to the sources of children, sales of children generally can be grouped into two categories, one is children abducted by human trafficker; another category is children voluntarily put up for sale by their parents. The latter could go through human traffickers as well, and also could go through family and friends’ connections. Either way was not allowed according to the law. From this we can see the ethics of common people at the bottom is not on the same page as so-called law.

For example the grandfather who sold his granddaughter, even though he told the police that he was a person of ignorant of the law. No matter how ignorant of the law he was, he should have known China’s policy of only allowing one child per family. His daughter in-law gave birth to the second child when the first daughter was only over 1 year old. They did not take one child policy seriously, nor did they take the baby girl seriously.

The early 20th century, gender equality was introduced to China from the west. However till today, the ideology of male domination and female subordination is still the thinking of majority of the farmers in China. Boy means family labor force; boy means that parents had a sense of security; boy means holding up the family, less bullying by the neighbors; boy means continuing the family line… common people at the bottom have too many reasons to want a boy!

What should the government do? Social justice and sense of security for elders

Social justice was rather distant, sense of security for elders was also not ideal. Raising a son for the old age is the political ethic of the traditional Chinese society. To the modern government, there is no reason to continue this ethic. The problem is the Chinese government last year made clear that China will not have welfare society. This was a very clear message, citizens of the country, you will all be on your own with your “own magic power”, the best would be having good skills and a good organization to work at, fishing for a gold, silver, bronze and “iron rice bowl”.  What about famers at the bottom? Holding a “soil rice bowl” for all their lives, with only self-reliance and hard work, they rely on gambling on their child. when they lose the first gamble, then gamble for the second time, lose the second gamble, then 3rd time!

The government declared war on child abduction and human traffickers, which of course was legitimate. However, the situation of parents voluntarily put up their child for sale is very complicated. The grandfather in the above news did not want his granddaughter anymore, but government did not provide him a suitable channel for him to find a trusted child adaptor. Maybe you will say why not send her to bureau of civil affairs? But will the bureau of civil affairs give him 10,000 yuan? Now, the government sent the baby girl back to her home, but do you think this “extra” child in her family’s eyes will ever be happy? Will her parents have a 3rd child?

The police maintained the rigidity of the law, but who supports the soft underbelly of the people at the bottom? (Original title: “who supports the soft underbelly of the people at the bottom”)

14 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. Andrew says:

    I know exactly what the government should do, setup adoption homes!!

    • Key says:

      Maybe you will say why not send her to bureau of civil affairs? But will the bureau of civil affairs give him 10,000 yuan?

      The government is not going to pay for the baby…

  2. wayangtimes says:

    this is so tragic. while i can appreciate that the environment the poor farmers are in necessitate that the children be traded, it is still very sad to hear that human lives are being traded as commodities.

  3. An excellent movie to watch about the same thema is “Blind Mountain” (from Li Yang)
    http://www.simaosavait.com/index.php?post/2008/10/22/Blind-Mountain-de-Li-Yang

  4. Xiao Wang says:

    The author sure spends a lot of time defending the farmers and the reasons why this ignorant filthy behaviour takes place. Fair enough but what about balancing it a bit with something about what the traffickers do with these children? The value of life,, your own flesh and blood? The continued humiliation and degrading of females in society?

    On a second note: I have never ever seen a study claiming that boys study better or advance higher in the educational system than girls. If I should decide for a boy or a girl when it comes to their chance to support me and get a good education too I would go for getting a baby girl every time.

    And btw. Claiming ignorance of the law is not a valid defence in any country in the world (as far as I know) so please lock up that nasty piece of human waste grandfather.

  5. Da Wang says:

    Mei mei Wang has great zeal, but not much life experience. She might be happy to know that in the USA women tend to do better than men, especially when it comes to higher education.

    But she forgets an important fact: Daughters leave home to join their husbands, while sons rarely leave home to join their wives.

    And more importantly, she thinks that getting a good education means the daughter will be able to better support her in old age than a son who has only an average education. Your daughter would be better off skipping university and earning as much working in a KTV while she is still young and attractive to men of means. When she is older she will find it difficult to find high paying work no matter how good her grades were in school. While a son… won’t make much working in a KTV so he should stay at university. As he ages he will be promoted and gain experience until one day he is visiting a KTV and paying for the attentions of beautiful young women.

    • chris says:

      You, my friend, are a sexist pig.

    • Louisa says:

      By saying that “daughters leave home to join their husbands” you subscribe to the “girls are maggots in the rice” or the “it is better to raise geese than girls” thought processes. Exactly how in the world do you still think that girls are inherently worth less because they somehow provide less to the family? Raising children, first of all, should not be about personal gain. Would you trade your child for somebody else’s if you knew that their child would provide you with more in the long term? Children are not disposable things that you can throw away at your whim or “give” away during marriage. Your comments imply that you think women are something that a family can collectively decide to give away. Every human being is the property of themselves. Parents can love them and guide them and scold them but they cannot tell them how to live their lives.

      Secondly, fidelity is NOT gender dependent. Does a daughter somehow love her parents less than a son? Any basic understanding of biology will refute this. Furthermore, why is it that you think women can somehow only use or even should use their looks to get ahead? There are hundreds of thousands of examples of women supporting themselves and their families without any man’s help, from women in sub-saharan Africa starting their own businesses to female CEO’s who have accomplished just as much or even more than most men could even dream of. Your sexism is quite frankly annoying but comfortingly pointless. In the US, there is no statistical difference between women and men providing for their parents. In fact, if you’re talking about parasitic children living with their parents because they can’t afford to support themselves, there are many more men doing that than women because women are successfully finishing their higher education at a much higher rate and who are entering the job market with more skill sets that employers truly value. Who do you think would be able to provide more for their parents? Also, exactly why do women devalue as they get older but men don’t? Just as women can solely depend on their brains and fortitude to become CEO’s, men are also capable of depending only on their looks to get somewhere in life, perhaps on the coattails of a successful woman. You pigeonhole all women as pretty baubles who will sell their souls for money and all men as only being able to acquire love if they buy it. Your outdated thoughts have no validity in the current century. Times are changing, and if you can’t change with them you will be left behind, blinded by hypocrisy, sexism and plain old ignorance. Perhaps you should open your eyes and take a look around at this new world sometime.

  6. Zuidade Wang says:

    I don’t know of any Chinese girls or women who aren’t sending money to their parents even after getting married. I have only disgussed the matter with 25 or 30 of them though so I could still be proven wrong. Btw your appologistic comment seems a bit outdated. Remember that girls today will be at the top of their game in 2040 and forward. It is unlikely that with so many girls attending university today nothing will have changed by then regarding pay and career opportunities. Maybe I am an idealist but I still think women will do at least as good as men in lifetime earnings 30 years from now,, even in China. And just for the record: 我是男人

    • Unimpressed says:

      You are idealist to think Chinese women will change 5000 years of tradition in 30 years. Even in the USA where it has long been ILLEGAL to pay someone less because they are female, women don’t make as much as men. And just for the record, here’s a new turntable.

  7. rotto says:

    again! ignorance is not an excuse, these people lack
    completely dignity! sell blood of your blood like a stuff….
    this sub-uman deserve only one thing! sterilization!

  8. chinabox says:

    This is sad, female can never receive fairness in China. To welcome Obama’s coming to Shanghai, a middle-aged Chinese woman living in Shanghai has written him a letter on the pains of Chinese women which he should never receive. Check more at http://chinarise.blog-city.com

  9. stfu says:

    i wanna fuck the baby 😀

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