Police forces from 11 provinces were involved in the operation to break up a massive network that stole, bought and sold children in Henan province in central China and other provinces, the ministry said late Friday.
It said the group targeted children in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in China's southwest and transported them to other provinces for sale.
Child abduction is a major problem in China where such police operations have become regular occurrences as authorities crack down on child trafficking. Strict family planning laws, a traditional preference for boys, ignorance of the law, poverty and illicit profits drive a thriving market in babies and children.
China also plans to introduce laws to punish buyers of children and parents selling their own children.