Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

In China, doctor who sold patients' newborns given suspended death sentence

By Katie Hunt and Feng Ke, CNN
January 14, 2014 -- Updated 0552 GMT (1352 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A Chinese obstetrician has been sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve
  • Zhang Shuxia was convicted of trafficking seven babies between 2011 and 2013
  • She told her patients they should give up their newborns because they were sick
  • She sold them to traffickers for around $2,500 to $3,500 each

(CNN) -- A Chinese obstetrician convicted of selling babies after telling their parents they were sick has been given a suspended death sentence, China's Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday.

Zhang Shuxia, a maternity doctor at a hospital in Shaanxi province, in central China, sold seven babies to a trafficking ring in six separate cases from November 2011 to July 2013, according to statements posted on the official microblog account of the local court.

She persuaded her patients that their newborns were sick and they should give them up, according to the Weinan Intermediate People's Court. One baby died after being sold.

Xinhua said the death penalty had a two-year reprieve, which typically means her sentence is likely to be life imprisonment if she doesn't commit any crimes during that period.

Doctor accused of taking, selling babies
China baby trafficking scandal widens
Lee: Baby trafficking tip of iceberg

The ring was exposed in July when a mother surnamed Dong told police she suspected her baby had been abducted after Zhang told her that her child had a congenital disease, Xinhua reported when Zhang went on trial in December.

"The doctor told me that my son could not go to school and might endanger society as his mother was infected with syphilis and hepatitis," Xinhua quoted the father as saying.

The court heard that Zhang sold the baby the same night for $3,500 to an individual identified as Pan in neighboring Shanxi province. Pan sold the baby onto a villager in Henan province for 59,800 yuan ($9,900.)

The baby was found and returned to his parents on August 5.

MORE: Twin baby girls rescued as trafficking probe continues

Twin baby girls, which Zhang sold for 30,000 yuan ($5,000) in May 2013, were reunited their parents in August after their mother Wang Yanyan filed a complaint.

Zhang told her the twins had serious health issues and would be brain damaged or paralyzed.

"I never suspected that she was selling my babies, because she was a family friend," Wang told CNN in August.

Nine suspects were detained including Zhang, who pleaded guilty and expressed remorse in court.

"I am deeply sorry for the pain I have brought to those families and beg for forgiveness," said Zhang.

The court said in a statement it believed Zhang should receive a severe penalty: "Her actions violated professional ethics and social morals. Although she partly admits her guilt, her case is considered serious."

The court did not say whether Zhang would appeal.

Katie Hunt reported and wrote from Hong Kong. Feng Ke reported from Beijing.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 0452 GMT (1252 HKT)
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1942 GMT (0342 HKT)
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0712 GMT (1512 HKT)
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0631 GMT (1431 HKT)
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0656 GMT (1456 HKT)
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT)
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0334 GMT (1134 HKT)
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
ADVERTISEMENT