SHANGHAI, October 20, 2005 ( – Shanghai police are investigating a scheme to sell newborn babies on Chinese eBay. The popular auction site is cooperating with police but it is unclear if the offer to sell babies was a hoax and the webpage, registered to a user called “Forever Innovator,” has been removed.

Lion Tang, a public relations official from eBay’s Shanghai office, said “Ebay carries a strict supervision process over the goods sold online to prevent trading of illegal articles.”

The bids started at US$3,457 and just under half that for a girl.

The Chinese communist government’s population control policy has long included sterilization and artificial contraception that often renders couples unable to conceive. In addition, the preference for boys over girls has created a severe demographic imbalance in which women are scarce in rural areas and are sometimes kidnapped and sold into “marriages.”

The sale of children can easily be seen as another manifestation of the looming crisis in Chinese society caused by its disregard for the family and the value of individual human life and dignity.