ecently, a shocking photo hit Chinese social media showing a man holding a little girl while supporting a placard that reads: “Sell daughter to save son.”
The poster goes on to say that the man’s 4-year-old son has leukemia and his family can no longer afford treatment. If someone is willing to pay for the boy’s medical costs, then they can have the family’s 4-year-old daughter in exchange.
A Beijing Youth Daily reporter discovered that the photo originated from Chengdu, where the boy is being treated at a local hospital. The reporter confirmed that the 4-year-old boy has indeed been diagnosed with leukemia and his family is heavily in debt. They had managed to raise 90,000 yuan in donations, but nearly 40,000 yuan of that has now become unavailable after donors reported the placard and got their WeChat donation account shut down.
China has an infamous traditional preference for sons over daughters, leading to a potentially disastrous gender gap due to female infanticide and sex-selective abortions during the one-child policy era.
In an interview, the mother of the two children told the paper that the signboard had been written in a moment of desperation to attract attention from the public, claiming that she and her husband never actually considered selling away their daughter to save their son.
That explanation has enraged Chinese Weibo users who say that the parents are either child traffickers or cheats. However, this is far from the first time that family members have been forced to resort to drastic measures to save a sick loved one in China. With medical fees piling up fathers have donned wedding dresses, grandmothers have sold sex dolls and sisters have offered their virginity.