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End child abduction
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In the past decade, the public security authorities in Dongguan have rescued 138 children who were abducted. We feel happy for these children and their parents.

However, the sad fact is that more than 100 kidnapped children remain untraced.

The public security department of the city in South China's Guangdong province announced the figure on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Public Security made public the previous day the 10 biggest cases involving the abduction of children and women in the past four months. One of the criminal gangs had abducted as many as 28 children.

The police deserve kudos for busting the gang of criminals and rescuing abducted children. But, it is urgent and important to ask the question: Why is child abduction so rampant?

Judged by our traditional legal principle, such a crime should be considered as one of the most severe and deserving of capital punishment. The psychological suffering kidnapping causes to a parent is no less in degree than the physical pain that may possibly be inflicted when their lives are taken.

Then why do some people, unmindful of the terrible consequences, get involved in such crime?

The criminals are drawn by the lure of profits. The handsome profit earned from selling abducted children makes the risk worth the kidnappers' while. Human trafficking is a lucrative business, and a boy can be sold for tens of thousands of yuan or even more.

In addition, the chances of being caught are narrow because once the abducted children are sold, those who have bought the children will help abductors to cover up their crime rather than cooperate with the police.

In addition, the punishment for buying abducted children is three years in prison at most, according to our Criminal Law. Such a punishment is by no means heavy enough to deter offenders from purchasing abducted children.

To root out the demand for abducted children, it may be necessary to consider harsher penalties for the buyers. At the same time, grassroots governments must do more to raise the awareness of local residents and impress on them that buying abducted children is a serious crime.

Only by narrowing down and finally getting rid of the market for such illicit trafficking in humans will China be able to prevail in the fight against this criminal business.

Last but not the least, those unrepentant criminals who have no scruples in repeatedly abducting or snatching children from the hands of their parents should never be shown any leniency in punishment.

Second-time offenders should be subjected to harsher punishment. Heavier penalties for abductors may make the crime less rampant and create a more secure social order.

(China Daily May 8, 2009)

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