Shanghai police are searching for someone called Chuangxinzhe Yongyuan (forever innovator) who offered babies for sale on eBay-owned Chinese site Eachnet. Ads placed on 16 October punted infants from the impoverished province of Henan for 28,000 yuan (£1,950) for a boy and 13,000 yuan (£900) for a girl.
According to China Daily, 50 people persused the offer before it was removed. Eachnet spokesman Tang Lei told Reuters the ads - or specifically the word "baby" - had slipped the site's security net "because of the large number of baby products pitched on the site". As a result, Eachnet will now scrutinise every posting.
Tang did, however, tell China Daily that the whole thing may have been a practical joke. If not, he warned, the perpetrator could face years in chokey or even the death penalty. The Chinese authorites do not look kindly on the trade in babies, although their own regulations restricting many couples to one offspring do little to discourage the practice. ®