The giant gap between the rich and the poor is not just a phenomenon for Western capitalist countries, despite what some progressives would have us believe. Imagine being a poor person in China, confined to one child under the country’s restrictive centrally planned economy, and take note of what the rich there are doing. Courtesy of Reuters:

Wealthy Chinese are hiring American women to serve as surrogates for their children, creating a small but growing business in $120,000 "designer" American babies for China's elite.

Surrogacy agencies in China and the United States are catering to wealthy Chinese who want a baby outside the country's restrictive family planning policies, who are unable to conceive themselves, or who are seeking U.S. citizenship for their children.

Emigration as a family is another draw - U.S. citizens may apply for Green Cards for their parents when they turn 21.

Here in Southern California, this trend has caused some typical “anchor baby” scare coverage from the media with little reference to the fact that these families are rather wealthy. As Reuters notes, these folks aren’t coming here to take advantage of our social services. Rather they are concerned about what might happen to their wealth if things go downhill in China:

[Surrogacy firm President John] Weltman said that prospective Chinese clients almost always want to chose U.S. citizenship for their babies, while other agencies pointed to a desire to have children educated in the United States.

Some wealthy Chinese say they want a bolt-hole overseas because they fear they will the targets of public or government anger if there were more social unrest in China. There is also a perception that their wealth will be better protected in countries with a stronger rule of law.

The punchline: Many of these clients are typically government officials or employees of state-owned businesses. Who else would be so rich in China?

Follow this story and more at Reason 24/7.

Spice up your blog or Website with Reason 24/7 news and Reason articles. You can get the widgets here. If you have a story that would be of interest to Reason's readers please let us know by emailing the 24/7 crew at 24_7@reason.com, or tweet us stories at @reason247.