What Gives Life, Kills Life

By Sanjana Kulkarni and Pooja Raghuram

Customs officers at China’s Futian port, separating mainland China from Hong Kong, caught a middle-aged woman carrying a backpack full of vials of pregnant women's blood with their individual names in July 2017. She was one of the several hundred human messengers smuggling blood.

What is Blood Smuggling?

Blood smuggling is the act of sending blood samples of pregnant women to Hong Kong from mainland China, where sex testing is forbidden. The samples are sent to clinics in Hong Kong to be tested to find out the sex of the fetus. Although this may seem beneficial for some, it is causing a plethora of problems both in China and in Hong Kong.


Is it Moral?

Between 1970 and 2017, an estimated 23.1 million girls were aborted in China. Blood smuggling has escalated the abortion rate even further. With the new information parents receive from getting their blood tested in Hong Kong, parents have to make the ultimate decision of whether or not they want to keep their child. Taking China's 2-children policy into consideration, parents either only want male children, or if they are having a second child, they would rather the child to be the opposite gender of their first child; this occurs because of the social stigma that a perfect family consists of a mother, father, son, and daughter. Not only is figuring out the gender of your baby this way illegal, but it is immoral because the parents have the choice to ruthlessly kill their own child due to mere preference.


What is the Impact?

Morals aside, blood smuggling has resulted in a skewed sex ratio and caused major issues for the messengers, who transport the blood samples from China to Hong Kong. Apart from adults, even young school children become messengers; a 12-year old girl was caught with 142 samples in Hong Kong. Besides human messengers, the blood samples are hidden inside stuffed animals to be transported to Hong Kong! The act of blood smuggling is putting all of them at risk of being caught and punished as seen fit by the Chinese law.



Through the years, scientists have debated the moral and ethical position on blood smuggling. While many believe that it is incredibly wrong, there are some who believe the action is justified. The birth of a child is supposed to be a momentous and joyous occasion, but this underground railroad of blood smuggling seems to put a damper on it. Would you agree?

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