A young Chinese couple are facing criminal punishment for “selling” their infant daughter and using the proceeds to buy an Apple iPhone, state media said Friday.
The couple, identified only as Miss Zhang and Mr Teng, are said to have placed anonymous advertisements in newspapers suggesting they would be willing to part with their baby – unborn at that stage – in exchange for 50,000 yuan (about £5,000).
Police in Shanghai have charged the couple with human trafficking after accepting money for the baby, who was born at home and still only weeks, or months old, when sold.
Having received the money, which was deposited in their bank account, Investigators found that the couple went on a shopping spree using the money to buy an iPhone, high-end sports shoes and other goods, it said.
Apple’s products are wildly popular in China, where a teenager sold his kidney and used the funds to buy an iPhone and iPad in an incident widely reported last year.
But the couple told police that they wanted the girl to have a better upbringing than they could afford, since they already had two children.
“Giving away the child was not for obtaining benefits, but giving the child better guarantees,” one said.
Some Chinese, especially in rural areas, have a traditional preference for sons though reports did not say if the child’s gender was also a factor in the case.
Online commentary condemned the couple, though some used black humour to describe modern Chinese society and the quest for wealth.
“So cold-blooded! These people do not deserve the right to be parents!” said Wangzhan1969 in a microblog posting.
“This is good business — no capital, huge profit and no need to sell kidneys,” said another posting.
An official of the prosecutor’s office handling the case expressed worry over “sensationalism” surrounding the affair but declined to comment further to AFP.
Apple last month launched the iPhone 5s, including a gold-coloured model, and the more budget-conscious iPhone 5c in China.