China Daily, quoting the Southern Metropolis News, said the babies were removed from their families by local officials in the province's Zhenyuan county. Most of them were handed over to foreign adoptive parents as orphans at a price of $3,000 each.
The report said one poor farming couple, who are among the affected 80 families, had to hand over their fifth baby, a girl, to local family planning officials because they couldn't pay the appropriate fine under China's two-child policy.
The report said the husband, like other fathers in the county, wanted and got a boy after three girls. The fifth baby was again a girl as the family struggled to support all five on an annual income of about $732.
The report said a local family planning official then gave them the choice of either giving up the fifth baby or paying a fine equal to about $2,928.
"This is the policy," the official was quoted as saying. "You pay, or you let the government take care of the baby."
However, the report said instead of being raised by the government, the girl was taken to a county orphanage and later adopted out to a foreign family, at a reported price of $3,000.
The report said documents may have been forged to show the babies were orphans and the adoption fees split between the orphanage and officials.
A lawyer said no one has the right to exploit a parent's right of guardianship over their children and that it would amount to abduction if the babies were removed to make a profit, China Daily said.