BEIJING – China has executed two men for abducting and selling 15 children, many of whom were taken as babies or toddlers and have not yet been reunited with their parents, state media said Friday.
The official Xinhua News Agency said Hu Minghua, 55, and Su Binde, 27, were executed Thursday morning, according to a statement from the Supreme People's Court.
Hu was convicted of kidnapping and selling nine children from April 1999 to Oct. 2005. He was detained in January 2006. Five of the children, all boys now aged from 3 to 6, have been returned to their families, while the parents of the remaining ones have not been found.
Su was convicted of abducting six children between Sept. 2005 to July 2006. Five of the children were rescued by police while a sixth remains missing.
Child trafficking is big problem in China, where traditional preference for male heirs and a restrictive one-child policy has driven a thriving market in baby boys, who fetch a considerably higher price than girls. Girls and women also are abducted and often used as laborers or as brides for unwed sons.
Thousands of children go missing every year though the exact numbers of victims are difficult to obtain. Earlier this year, Chinese police announced they had rescued about 2,000 abducted children as part of a nationwide crackdown on widespread trafficking of women and children.
In October, China's Ministry of Public Security set up a Web site — "Babies Looking for Home" — to reunite rescued children with their families.
State media have reported hundreds of rescues and arrests since the campaign began in April, and the new site had photos of dozens of children rescued from kidnappers but who had not yet found their families. The ministry set up a national DNA database earlier this year.