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President Basescu at the European Commission, 22 April 2010

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

China - Breaking News on Intercountry Adoptions

This morning I read the Testimony of Acting Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs
Catherine M. Barry
, which she gave on June 8, 2006 during a Hearing in the US Senate on Asian adoptions. Here a quote:

'In another important and extremely positive development, the People’s Republic of China – not only the world’s most populous nation but also the largest country of origin of children adopted by Americans internationally – ratified the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention on September 16, 2005. The Department of State and the American adoption community have long viewed China as a country of origin with clear, uniform procedures that are transparent to adoptive parents and their representatives. We also know that the Chinese government has strict measures to verify the identity and status of children available for adoption. In February 2006, the Chinese government realized that some measures had been compromised by rural officials in Hunan province. A number of these officials were sent to jail pursuant to criminal convictions. The Chinese government subsequently assured U.S. officials that none of the children erroneously put forward for adoption had been adopted by American families. The Chinese government also assured us that they have reinvigorated their internal controls. China’s Hague Convention ratification bolsters even further our level of confidence in China’s commitment to equitable, legal, and transparent adoption procedures that meet the best interests of children, nearly 8,000 of whom came to the United States last year.'

Today's Dutch Breaking News might counter this positivity. Newspaper Trouw announces that tonight the Dutch TV programme Netwerk will broadcast a documentary that will uncover how chinese children are taken away from their families by the Chinese authorities - and then are sent abroad for intercountry adoption.

So, where are these children. In the Netherlands, in the US, in Spain, the UK or perhaps in France?

Below an unoffical translation of the Trouw article:

Chinese adoptions again in the news
Authorities are said to take children away from their parents
Trouw, 11 March 2008
Iris Pronk

The 7-year old Zeng Hong from the Chines province Hunan has a twinsister. But she and her parents have no idea where the girls is. In fact, in April 2002, Zeng’s little sister was taken away by a civil servant, because her parents could not pay the fine. That fine is part of the one child policy, that limits the number of children Chinese couples may have.

The parents of Zeng Hong. | Foto: Netwerk, EO

The parents of the girl tell their story tonight in the TV programme ‘Netwerk’.
When father and mother later had saved the necessary amount of money to pay the fine, they claimed their daughter back. But the local authorities said the child had been adopted abroad and would and untraceable.

’Netwerk’ got two other Chinese couples in front of the camera, with a similar history: their (grand) child was also taken by someone of the office for family planning. He brought the childen to the Shaoyang Social Welfare Institute in Hunan, from where it probably got adopted by a foreign couple. Without consent or knowledge of the parents.

Two Dutch adoption agencies did in 2003 business with the Shaoyang children’s home. Through Wereldkinderen [Children of the World] seven children came from this home to the Netherlands, through Meiling ten. It is not sure of proven that these cases concern children that were taken away.

Last year Trouw reported on another adoption scandal in the province Hunan: child traders earned for many years big money with the sale of possibly hundreds of children. China has always assured that none of these trafficked children ended up in the Netherlands.

It is, however, to be questioned how much value these Chinese statements have, says adoption expert René Hoksbergen: „China does not want to loose its face, especially not with the Olympics in sight.” He calls the witnessing statements of the three Chinese couples in ’Netwerk’ shocking and considers that the Netherlands should suspend adoptions of Chinese children. „There is reasonable doubt about the trustworthiness of the Chinese authorities. That’s why Justice must have the courage to say: we will first investigate this fully”, according to Hoksbergen.

Stay tuned - more after I watched the programme...

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