New export from China: Babies


Based on the cover story of Caixin Century magazine’s May 9th issue.

Yang Libing always bring the photo of his first born daughter Yang Ling with him through his years of searching for her. She would be 7 years old by now.

10 months after born, Yang Ling was taken away by officials from local one child policy office. The reason was that the family didn’t pay "social raising fee". Yang had never saw his daughter again.

One day in 2009, Yang and his wife Cao Zhimei was shown a photo of a little girl. Yang knew the moment he looked at the photo that this is his daughter. The photo was taken in the US. Yang’s baby girl is now some American parents’ sweet heart.

Yang Libing’s daughter was born on July 29th, 2004. He named his first daughter Yang Ling, a common girl’s name just like Jennifer or Lily. Yang and his wife stayed with their daughter for 6 months and then left their rural home in Hunan and went to the southern metropolitan Shenzhen to work. Their daughter Yang Ling stayed with her grandparents at home. Parents work in the city and the grandparents take care of the child at home. That’s very typical for immigrant workers in China.

One day in 2005 while calling home in Shenzhen, Yang learned the shocking news, his daughter was taken away by local officials. Yang rushed from Shenzhen to home but it was too late. How can they take away my only child? Yang figured the reason would be that since both the parents are working and left the child with the grandparents, the one child policy
office thought this girl was adopted. Family who adopted child should pay "social raising fee", which gave them an excuse to take the girl away.

Yang’s father remembered that day. It was April 29th, 2005. Around 10 people from local one child policy office came to their house. Yang’s mother saw them from the window and immediately went away with the child to hide. They hid in the pig farm. After searching, the officials found the child in the pig farm and took her away because "social raising fee" was
not paid.

Yang’s father went with them but the officials demanded 6000 yuan to release the girl. Yang’s father only raised 4000 at that moment. On the next day the officials said they won’t release the child even if Yang’s father gave the 10,000 yuan. When Yang came back home from Shenzhen his daughter was already transferred to the city welfare center. Information said for every child sent to the welfare center, an official would receive 1,000 yuan or more. And for every child adopted by a foreign family the welfare center would receive 3,000 US dollar. Before being "sold" aboard, these children would be announced as orphan by local government. This is a legal business.

Yang Ling was not alone. Child taking was phenomenon in Gaoping. Gao ping is a poor rural village located in the mountain area of Hunan province in Southwestern China. Behind this phenomenon were not just economic interest but also political one. One child policy was made a national policy in 1982. To implement it Hunan province linked the implementation of the policy with the local officials’ career like what many other provinces did. If their were people violating the one child policy in the local administrative area, the local administrator would not receive promotion and many other benefits for a year. This way of implementation worked but it got worse and worse. Before 1997 the slogan was the local officials would just "tear down the house" or "take the parent away" if a family had more than one children.
But after 2000 they would "take your child away". Maybe that’s when the officials discover the business of exporting children.

A Chinese in the US, Ye, found out about Yang’s story and helped to find the girl that is very likely to be Yang Ling, Yang’s long lost daughter. Ye didn’t take any further action except making sure the girl was adopted and informing Yang. Ye said the little girl is living a happy life with her American parents and her adopted parents loved her very much. I am sure Yang
loved her daughter very much too. But he was just a farmer in rural China. His lifetime saving won’t be enough for a air ticket to the US that seemed impossibly far far away.

(illustration by Brain Chang)

  1. Yang figured the reason would be that since both the parents are working and left the child with the grandparents, the one child policy office thought this girl was adopted. Family who adopted child should pay “social raising fee”, which gave them an excuse to take the girl away.

    Too naive explanation.
    Probably Yang just didn’t register his daughter in order to give birth to another child.
    Which is also not a reason to take a baby away.
    But this is probably what happened.

    1. Running government errands?
      I would give him the benefit of doubt, rather than the faulty system profiting from stealing.

  2. c’mon now, so the kid had no birth certificate from the hospital or anything to prove she is not adopted?

    1. my wife doesn’t have a birth certificate either, born on the kitchen floor of their two-room woodshack….that was a fun time getting her USA permanent residence permit

  3. Good way of population control and profiteering in China legal human trafficking. Why white people can’t just buy a white baby from another white nation is beyond me. The whole purpose of adoption is to give the illusion to outsiders that this purchased child was birthed by you and not an arranged transaction especially if you can’t have kids of your own.

    1. “The whole purpose of adoption is to give the illusion to outsiders that this purchased child was birthed by you and not an arranged transaction especially if you can’t have kids of your own.”

      I am afraid this is simply not the case. While I agree that there are probably many American babies in need of adoption, the act of adoption itself is not necessarily one of selfishness and deception. I have children of my own and would like to adopt a child. In fact, many people adopt for altruistic reasons.

      Please save the tiresome racist blather for somewhere else. China’s greatest enemy is itself, and nobody kills more Chinese people than other Chinese. Remember that next time you slough off Japan, white people, or anyone else who might “Hurt Chinese people’s feelings.”

      It’s embarrassing (though highly typical of Chinese) that you would attempt to place blame on the shoulders of the adoptive parents (who I am most certain were ignorant of the specifics of this case.) The guilty party is are the local thugs who kidnapped this child and then sold her on the open market. As I mentioned above: Chinese hurting Chinese.

      1. ooops im sorry did I offend you? Im sorry, doesn’t feel good does it to be generalized in a statement that is more or less baseless and ignorant for that matter? Well welcome to my world guy. Yes I agree most of the blame should be put on the “thugs” but adoptive parents from white america who don’t want the other un wanted kids in their own back yard for reasons I care not mention is also a problem in America. They “adoptive parents” want infants of certain races like they are pets. Asian babies under the care of a white family will become a success story. They will grow up with privileges they wouldn’t normally have where they are from other wise depriving the other children with disadvantages. Its a big market to supply for these affluent people in America and other parts of the world. An average minority family wouldn’t even fathom the idea of adopting outside of their race.

        Lets not get started on the super rich who adopt these kids only to raise them to be servants from a young age. Again you can blame for the parents for selling the Children too. Poor people do desperate things.

        1. you’re an idiot. most of the kids that are available for adoption are messed up by the time they are six years old. most people don’t want to have to sleep with one eye open. this is probably why “white america” has a problem with the kids in their own back yard.

    2. “Good way of population control and profiteering in China legal human trafficking. Why white people can’t just buy a white baby from another white nation is beyond me”

      Yellow babies are cheaper that white ones!
      Americans are afraid of the Black ones, because of their history of stealing Black people from Africa.

    3. Chinese babies are a status symbol in the US. Adopting one proves you are rich because it’s very expensive. So, a white person being seen with a Chinese child gives you “face”. I am whitenand American and an adoptive parent. But I adopted black/white babies from foster care. That does NOT give me ” face”.

  4. The girl is without a doubt much better off. It is a sad state of affairs when a man can not father a child without the government taking one away from you. Luckily there was an open-hearted American, a kind cultured and loving family from the U.S.A. that had the decency and wherewithal to save this girl from what undoubtedly would have been a terrible fate.

    1. why not go to an orphanage and save a child in your own country? I’ll admit I have yellow fever and want tiger woodish babies but kind hearted Americans should pick from the pot at home. I know the circumstances and red tape that you have to go thru in the states but in the end you know you are helping your country out. Let a China man buy his own stolen babies and stop perpetuating crooked industry.

      1. Those yellow monkeys just can’t stop their savage behavior. All they can do is lie, cheat, steal, and be crooks! Those babies are better off being aborted and barBQed than live in China amongst those nasty Chinamen.

        Haha, one less woman for a Chinaman – hopefully eugenics will run it’s course and all these Chinamen will be extinct.

        I’m glad there’s some good black folks like you man!

      2. We don’t have orphanges in the US. We only have foster care and private adoption. If youmwant a white baby, you have to do a private adoption and it’s very expensive and takes years. If you want a black or mixed one, that’s easy, there are hundreds, thousands in foster care and the government will pay you to adopt and raise them. The only white ones available are usually older and damaged mentally. The black ones, unfortunately, are usually drug exposed or addicted at birth and you need to be prepared for a lifetime of trouble. That’s why the gov’t pays adoptive parents a montly fee to adopt. Shocking maybe, but true.

  5. A lot of girl babies are aborted or left die in China, why not let them be adopted by American or other foreign couples who can’t have children?

  6. ” That’s very typical for immigrant workers in China.”

    wtf? chinese people are now immigrants in their own country!?

    and how the hell do those guys/official know a child was staying there?

    this is all f*ked up man, but at least she has a happy life in US…let’s hope so.

  7. “Yellow babies are all the rage and the flavor of choice to Americans” ?!?!?! As well-read and well-written as you THINK you are — you are delusional. You may pat yourself on the back because you have such worldly views, but you know nothing. My son SAT in foster care YEARS because no one in his home country would adopt him. For anyone to say that he is nothing more than a “pet” or accessory is repulsive. Oh, and by the way, I am part-Asian.

  8. While I agree that there are many people who are clamoring to adopt Chinese babies– this Mama is not. I have two biological children of my own, yet I would love to adopt. (And will, one day– as soon as possible, in fact!) I, however, will adopt one of the many millions of foster children within the United States. The reason people look to foreign adoption is that the vast majority of the time, you can adopt a foreign infant quickly– whereas the waiting list for the perfect “HEALTHY WHITE BABY” averages about 7 years. Why not adopt an older child that has been sitting in foster care for years HERE? And why do you need a specific race of child? A child is a child. If you want to be a parent so badly, race shouldn’t matter.

    1. Because adopting one that has been sitting in foster care= burning your house down, smearing poo on everything, destroying everything you own, abusing your biological children, accusing you of abuse, hoarding food that rots in their bedrooms, stealing money, constant phone calls from teachers, running back and forth to the psych doc for psych meds, involvement with the criminal courts and expensive legal fees when they start “acting out”, sometimes fear of your own life.

      Unless you want to live where you have to lock your iwn bedroom door just to go downstairs to do laundry, put away anything that matters to you unless you want it destroyed, watch your bio children suffer because of the monster you brought into their lives, have teachers and other parents look at YOU like YOU created that mess of a child and you’re a bad parent, be spit on, cursed at, beaten by someone you just tried to help, do not let your bleeding heart cloud your sense. If you want to help those kids, donate money to stop these drug addicts from reproducing.

  9. Wow, those government officials sound evil. 🙁

    I am from the US and I know women who have adopted foreign babies. #1 reason is that in some countries like China, it is easy and inexpensive to adopt. To adopt a US baby, it is expensive and takes years. I think also that many Americans think Asians are very smart and attractive, so an Asian baby is very desirable.

    I have never heard of someone adopting an Asian baby to raise as a servant in the US. If someone would do this, they are monsters. The thought makes me sick.

    There is something I do not understand, though… If the adopted parents knew the baby was stolen, why would they not make the birth parents part of the family? They should fly the parents over and discuss what to do. I wonder if the adopted parents were ever told?

  10. I’m sick. Adoption is taking from the poor and giving to the rich, x’s hundreds of thousands = a billion. Giving children to rich people does not make this right!

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