Shanghai prosecutors are reportedly building a case against a couple accused of selling their baby daughter online for money to purchase an iPhone after pretending the woman's baby bump was a tumor.
They face prosecution for alleged human trafficking, state media reported today.
Shanghai's Chinese-language Jiefang Daily newspaper named the couple only as Mr. Teng and Ms. Zhang, who defended their actions as an act of love and sacrifice. "We did not send the baby off for a profit, but to give the child a better life of security," the couple said, according to the newspaper.
With two older children to care for, the couple had reportedly hoped another family would be able to provide a better upbringing for their little girl. The couple allegedly put their daughter up for adoption through online postings and ultimately accepted money for the baby, according to state media.
They reportedly posted "Adopt a Baby" with a trade in mind, asking for about $4,900 to $8,200. It's unclear how much they ultimately received or when the transaction took place.
Shanghai police could not be reached by ABC News for comment.
Chinese netizens have taken to the Web to weigh in on the couple's consumer behavior.
"So cold-blooded! These people do not deserve the right to be parents!" Wangzhan1969 said in a microblog posting.
Said another: "This is inhumane!"
Besides reportedly telling everyone that Ms. Zhang's baby bump was a tumor, the couple allegedly resorted to a home birth and exchanged their baby for a cash payment that was deposited into their bank account that same day.
After the alleged "trade," the couple reportedly went on an online shopping spree, purchasing an iPhone and high-end athletic shoes, among other items.
Apple products are a sign of status in China. Possessing an iPhone or an iPad represents prestige and class regardless of how much money they actually have in the bank.
A 17-year-old in China reportedly sold his kidney last summer for an Apple iPhone and an iPad.
Although online baby "trading" is unusual, China has had a long history of female infanticides. The country is moving away from the culturally rooted preference for males, but its One Child Policy further perpetuates the problem.
Wealthy families can pay the "social compensation fee" for having more than one child, but others less fortunate resort to desperate measures to avoid the heavy fine.