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China child trafficking crackdown

The Chinese government is tightening adoption rules to combat child trafficking a day after eight people convicted of abducting or murdering children received sentences including the death penalty.

Only orphanages will be able to offer abandoned infants and children for adoption, and adults who adopt without official registration will not be recognised as legal guardians, the China Daily reported.

China has a thriving domestic black market in children, mostly involving buyers who want more children or those who want them as slave labour.

Forcing people to go through official adoption channels will reduce the demand for abducted children, Ji Gang, the director of the domestic adoption department of the China Centre for Children's Welfare and Adoption, was quoted as saying by the China Daily.

The rules being drawn up are due to be introduced by the end of the year.

Authorities in north-western China announced earlier in the year they would crack down on the trafficking of Xinjiang children, some of whom are bought or kidnapped by gangs who force them into pickpocketing and other non-violent crime in China's eastern cities.

Xinhua News Agency said the children targeted are mostly aged between 10 and 18 and from four cities in Xinjiang, a region with majority Han Chinese and minority ethnic Uighurs.

Many of them are forced into stealing by gangs after being conned to leave home for large and medium-sized eastern cities with fake job offers, Xinhua said.

On Monday, eight people were sentenced in five cases, including a father who sold his 12-year-old daughter twice to pickpocket gangs and two child traffickers who beat a boy into a coma and then threw him into a river.

In one case, a ring headed by Umair Tohti coaxed young children in Xinjiang into working as migrant labourers in Huizhou City, in southern Guangdong province, and beat and abused them, Xinhua reported, citing the sentence handed down by the Urumqi Municipal Intermediate People's Court.

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