BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police have rescued 92 children and two women kidnapped by a gang for sale and arrested 301 suspects, state media said on Saturday, in one of the biggest busts of its kind in years.
Police simultaneously swooped on locations in 11 provinces on September 11 after a six-month investigation, China Central Television and state news agency Xinhua said, quoting the Ministry of Public Security.
No reason was given for the delay in reporting the operation.
State media did not give a breakdown of how many boys and how many girls were kidnapped.
A traditional preference for boys, especially in rural areas, and a strict one-child policy have contributed to a rise in the trafficking of children and women in recent years.
Kidnapped women are sold to men in remote areas who are unable to find brides due to a sex imbalance resulting from the draconian one-child policy, which has also encouraged sex-selective abortions.
The government would impose harsher punishment on people who buy kidnapped children, state television said.
Xinhua said the government would also punish parents who sell their children.
China has trumpeted the success of an intensified crackdown on the kidnapping and sale of children and women recently. In 2011, police said they had rescued more than 13,000 abducted children and 23,000 women over the past two years or so.
A U.N. committee is scheduled to issue on October 4 its findings on China’s implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Beijing ratified in 1992.
Reporting by Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Jeremy Laurence