Authorities in Shanghai are investigating the attempted sale of babies on eBay's auction site in China, the official China Daily newspaper reported Thursday.
A seller using the name "Chuangxinzhe Yongyuan" claimed the babies were being offered to help infertile couples and would come from China's Henan province, the China Daily report said. Baby boys were priced at 28,000 renminbi (AU$4,591) while baby girls were offered for 13,000 renminbi, the newspaper reported, citing an eBay executive.
In China, where most families are restricted to having just one child because of a long-standing policy aimed at reducing the country's population, boys are often preferred over girls. One reason for this is that sons are traditionally expected to care for their parents while daughters that are married off are expected to help care for their parents-in-law.
The advertisement for the babies was posted on Oct. 16 and was browsed by 50 people, including one visitor who left a note requesting more information from seller, the China Daily reported. No sale was made before eBay executives removed the posting and alerted the police, it reported.
EBay executives in China could not be reached for comment.
If the advertisement proves to be genuine and the person responsible is caught, the penalties are severe. Abducting a baby can carry a prison sentence of five years while abduction with the intention of selling the baby can carry the death penalty in some cases, the China Daily said.