A doctor in China has been sentenced to death for trafficking babies stolen from her hospital. Zhang Shuxia, a doctor in Fuping, Shaanxi province, was found guilty of abducting and selling at least seven babies, according to the BBC.
China is infamous for its one-child policy, an effort to curb overpopulation that has led to unintended consequences such as families giving females or disabled children up for adoption as well as “Little Emperor Syndrome,” the phenomenon in which one child receives an overwhelming amount of attention from his or her relatives. Although the country has slowly begun reforming that policy in recent years, it still has had a tremendous effect on the culture as well as individuals and families living within the state. The state now allows a couple to have two children if either parent is an only child.
It is unconfirmed whether or not Zhang’s actions were a consequence of China’s one-child policy or part of a larger human trafficking scheme. One of the babies involved in the scheme, however, was a boy that was sold to a farmer with three daughters.
Regardless of her intentions, the court deemed Zhang guilty of her actions and she was sentenced to death with a two year reprieve, although she is likely to carry out a life sentence.
“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’s ruling read.
Zhang allegedly informed parents at the hospital that their children had been born disabled or had died. She then took them from the hospital and sold them to other individuals around the country. Police were investigating 50 related cases of baby trafficking throughout China, with 26 of those cases linked to Zhang, Yahoo News reports.