Wealthy Chinese families appear to have found a way around China’s one-child policy: pay a huge pile of money to middlemen agencies that will help them find a surrogate mother to give birth to a “designer baby” in the United States. And there are other side-benefits to this arrangement: once the child reaches 21, she can apply for green cards for her parents.
At least one Chinese agent promotes surrogacy as a cheaper alternative to America’s EB-5 visa, which requires a minimum investment in a job creating business of $500,000.While the basic surrogacy package Chinese agencies offer costs between $120,000 and $200,000, “if you add in plane tickets and other expenses, for only $300,000, you get two children and the entire family can emigrate to the U.S.,” said a Shanghai-based agent.
Meanwhile, the poor in China are much more likely to face fines, forced abortions and sterilizations for violating the law. How likely is the one-child policy to end any time soon? An opponent of the policy has been asking provincial government officials to disclose how much they had collected in fines over family planning over the past year. The numbers are eye-opening:
The Beijing News report said Mr. Wu, the lawyer, obtained data showing that Jiangxi Province had collected the most in fines of the 19 provinces that replied to him; it amassed $554 million in 2012. Sichuan was second with $400 million, and Fujian was third with $340 million. The provinces that collected the least were Qinghai, with $572,000, and Ningxia, with about $2 million. Both have low populations compared with most other provinces, and they are also home to many rural residents and ethnic minorities, who have more leeway in the number of children they can have without incurring fines.
We have been optimistic that China’s barbaric policy was headed for history’s dustbin. But with these kinds of vested interests having such large financial incentives to keep the status quo in place, we should have perhaps been a bit less sanguine.