Chinese family sells children to play online games

It starts off innocently enough. Girl meets boy in internet cafe, the pair bond over a shared love of online video games, romance blossoms, and the couple soon welcome a son into their happy family.

But then things get weird. Within a few days of the child's birth, his parents left the newborn at home, heading to an internet cafe 30km away to play online games.

Chinese Internet - Tim Yang

A Chinese internet cafe

A year later, in 2009, a baby girl joined the young family - but not for long. Li Lin and his girlfriend Li Juan looked at their new daughter and saw potential. They decided to sell the child, and used the money to fund their online gaming habit. The money they received from the sale - RMB 3,000 (less than US$500) didn't last long.

The obsession with online games didn't fade when the money ran out. The young Chinese couple, inspired by their earlier financial gains, decided to sell their first child as well. Being older, and a boy, the son brought RMB 30,000 (roughly US$4600) into the household - money which was quickly spent on video games.

When later asked about the children, the couple responded:

We don’t want to raise them, we just want to sell them for some money.

Their intentions were clear when a third child (a second son) was born - and sold - for a further RMB 30,000.

According to local media, the couple did not realise they were breaking the law, and were only handed over to the authorities when Li Lin's mother discovered the fate of her grandchildren.

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