Hospital director in China’s Hubei under investigation for selling birth certificates
HONG KONG — The director of a hospital in China’s central Hubei province is under investigation for selling birth certificates, with the hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology department forced to suspend operations, state media reported on Tuesday.
The case fueled a flurry of online comments by Chinese netizens who said these birth certificates were likely to be used to register abducted children and prevent them from being found, the Global Times reported.
Other netizens said it may provide an option for registering surrogate children, as surrogacy is illegal in China.
The director earned more than 60,000 yuan ($8,200) for each certificate, the Global Times said.
Reuters was not able to immediately identify the director.
The hospital’s official website was under maintenance, and no contact number was listed on its official WeChat account.
The Health Commission of Xiangyang, a prefecture-level city in northwestern Hubei, sent a special team to Jianqiao Hospital on Monday after being alerted to the case. Further updates will be provided based on the results of a full investigation, it said.
Birth certificates are required in China for obtaining household registration and necessary for vaccinations, medical insurance enrollment and application for a social security card.
The case comes as birth rates have fallen in China to their lowest since records began in 1949 at just 9.56 million births in 2022.
($1 = 7.2788 yuan)