Zhejiang News, Sept. 5 2011
A couple who performed over 600 illegal ultrasound procedures had been arrested by police in Jiangbei District of the City of Ningbo, Zhejiang Province.
The couple was originally from Shangyin County, Anhui Province and operated under assumed names of Liu Lin (husband) and Li Li (wife). Liu was responsible for posting advertisements for ultrasound fetal gender determinations and ferrying the pregnant women on his motorcycle. Li stayed in their apartment to perform the procedures. If the ultrasound revealed the pregnancy to be a boy, the fee would be 800 yuan. It would be 500 for a girl.
Li had received medical training in her home province. She started to act as a gynecologist without a license in Ningbo in 2007. “It was simple work. Just identify the gender of the fetus. If it was a girl, just ask if they wanted to abort it.” She had been sentenced to a year (suspended for 18 months) for a botched birth in which a baby died from lack of oxygen and illegal medical practice.
During her suspended sentence, Li and her husband bought a portable ultrasound machine on the internet for 20,000 yuan to perform fetal gender identification. Liu said to the police, “There is a market for our work. And it’s not as risky as a traveling doctor. There’s no risk to endanger human life.”
Many migrant workers in the coastal city of Ningbo, especially those from Anhui knew that Liu provided gender identification without hassle. “At first I was puzzled. They were already tried and sentenced once. Why do this again?” said Policeman Luo. But the interrogation made their motivation obvious. Li and Liu had made more than half a million yuan through their illegal business that only required a 20,000 yuan machine. The punishment was very light. Police had no means to prosecute the practice of illegal ultrasound and had to refer the cases to the Bureau of Commerce or the Birth Control Committee, which would fine the offenders as punishment. Lou revealed that “many people from Li’s home county, Shangyin, had learned to do this as a profession. They’ve turned this into an industry.”
After Liu and Li’s arrest, they were extradited to Shangyin and their case referred to the Shangyin Birth Planning Commission.