Police officials arrested seven people who allegedly forced school children to donate blood in northwest China, according to the Xinhua news agency. In China, people between ages 18 to 55 can reportedly donate blood legally.
One of the arrested, reportedly with the surname Huang, is the deputy chief of a blood centre operated by the Lanzhou Institute of Biological Products in Wuwei, in the Gansu province, about 956 miles southwest of Beijing, while the others were six jobless men, state media reported late Friday.
At least eight children belonging to primary and secondary schools were forced to donate blood at least once a month, which made the group about $1,000, Agence France-Presse, or AFP reported, citing an official with the public security bureau in Wuwei’s Liangzhou District quoted by Xinhua .
The children – aged from 10 to 16 – were reportedly being sent to the company’s blood donation centre for a period of about seven months. The official also reportedly said that the group had provided false identification papers for the children that showed that the donors were adults.
Li Yongming , a propaganda official with the local police, reportedly told China National Radio that the amount of money and number of children involved could increase.
Huang reportedly said that he forced the children to donate blood because he was under pressure from the centre to increase the number of donors and so sought the help of his friend, who has been reportedly identified only with his surname Zhang, to help in the illegal donation process.
The Free Press Journal reported that the prospect of earning a reward made Zhang and some of his acquaintances to agree to help Huang with the illegal donation.
The group tortured the children to make them cooperate and the incident came into light after one of them informed his parents about the scandal, AFP reported, citing Xinhua.