If we’re honest, this was bound to happen eventually. Last year, an Australian man put his entire life up on sale on eBay, and even found a buyer willing to pay $7,500 for the guy’s house, car, friends – everything he had except his wallet and passport.
Now, trust the Chinese to go one better. An uncle in the city of Zhangsu in Jiangxi Province placed this ad on the online store aggregator Taobao.com last week.
It seems innocent enough until you realise the lot up for auction is the baby. That’s right, and bidding starts at just ¥1, with shipping included.
The man, identified in the advert as Mr Hu, explains he was prepared to send his niece into the unknown “because we want a boy, therefore decided to give (her) away to family of fate”.
And he doesn’t stop there, the advert comes with a whole spec like a second hand car. We’re told the baby’s father has good health and a college education, and that the baby’s mother has fair skin and big eyes. The “kid’s also got the big eyes,” the ad continues, “very cute, hope everyone will think for the child”. Sincere buyers could meet the girl in person, it concluded.
After the issue exploded onto the Chinese webverse, Taobao located the page, removed it and shut down the man’s account.
Mr Hu, of course, was unrepentant. He told Chinese media that the family was extremely poor, and that they had always wanted a boy and his brother-in-law was the only son in the family. Before now, the 25-year-old said – without a shred of irony, we must assume – that he only used Taobao to sell household items he didn’t want anymore, like DVDs and alarm clocks.
“I am not a human trafficker, it is adoption, and we do not require any money or material things in return,” he pleaded.
Needless to say, even Chinese legislation is not that blind. Indeed, there are very strict rules governing adoption that state among other conditions that a child to be put up for adoption must first be an orphan.
The rules further dictate that anybody who is not the legal guardian of such an orphan or a representative of a state social welfare agency faces being classified as a human trafficker and being hit with serious criminal charges.
Of course, the advert did not go unanswered. Before the page was pulled a doctor from Anhui province contacted Mr Hu showing interest in adopting the girl. However the girl’s mother was reluctant (can anyone blamer her?) and matters did not go any further.
You’re left wondering if there is anything sacred anymore that hasn’t already been placed at the mercy of the highest online bidder – at least until brain transplants become medically possible, that is.