Chinese police have busted a baby trafficking ring that has seen dozens of people accused of buying and selling at least 40 infants, state press reported Friday.
So far 47 baby trafficking gang members in southwestern China's Yunnan province and 10 others in Shandong to the east have been arrested for their involvement in the trade, the Beijing News said.
The gang was accused of gathering the babies in Gejiu area of Yunnan and trafficking them to areas around Shandong's Tancheng city, both rural regions, it said.
The babies were all only about one month old.
Railway police began gathering evidence in the case in May by following four young women with four infants riding a train from Yunnan to Shandong, the paper said.
After over three months of investigations, police succeeded in rescuing 40 babies, all of whom had been trafficked since 2005, it added.
The report did not say whether the babies were male or female.
But the trafficking of female babies is most common in China as women, faced with the "one child" family planning policy, often sell their baby girls in hopes of giving birth to a male heir.
Under the strict policy, aimed at controlling the world's largest population of 1.3 billion, people who live in urban areas are generally allowed one child, while rural families can have two if the first is a girl.
In another high-profile scandal that exposed the rampant trafficking of children in China, 54 people in southern Guangxi region were convicted in 2004 of trafficking 117 girls.
That case broke when police found 28 drugged and tied-up baby girls -- none over three months old -- in bags on board a bus bound for northern cities.
At least three people were executed in the case, while more than 100 people outside of Guangxi were arrested for buying the children.