China launches drive to protect children in wake of attacks on minors

Members went to five provinces and Chongqing in an effort to research and enforce the Law on Protection of Minors

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 2:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 4:01pm

The National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee has organised an inspection group to strengthen the war on crimes committed against children.

The purpose of the group is to oversee the enforcement of the Law on Protection of Minors in light of recurring incidents that endanger their personal rights and safety. The group met for the second time on Monday in Beijing to summarise and discuss the reports from their inspections, Xinhua reported.

At the group’s first meeting on April 10, Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, gave the group its instructions, Legal Daily reported. He said all of society must take the responsibility to protect the rights and safety of minors according to the law, with special emphasis on the protection of the children’s physical and mental safety.

Since the first meeting, members of the group did an inspection of five provinces – Jilin, Jiangxi, Shandong, Henan and Gansu – and Chongqing municipality. They demanded the remaining 25 provinces, regions and municipalities conduct self-inspection procedures.

Special attention has been paid to supervising the carrying out of the punishment of the criminal acts against juveniles such as child trafficking, abuse, abandonment and sexual assault.

The situation regarding children’s safety on the mainland is becoming increasingly grave, as the number of crimes against children has been on the rise. Youths may easily fall victim to domestic violence and abuse at school.

On July 6, a woman in Shaanxi wielded a kitchen knife and slashed at her 10-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter.

In June, a woman from Fujian severed her seven-year-old stepdaughter’s right hand and threw it into a cesspit. In May, a nine-year-old girl from Hebei suffered critical brain injuries following alleged beatings from her teacher at a private school that teaches Chinese classics.

Sexual assault is also a threat. According to the latest statistics from the girls’ protection project of the China Children and Teenagers’ Fund, 192 child sexual assault cases were reported in the first half of this year, or roughly one new case every day. That compares with one every 2.92 days last year. The statistics from last year also showed that 81 per cent of the victims are under the age of 14.

The reported crimes are only the tip of the iceberg, however. Wang Shengjun, vice-chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said at the inspection group’s second meeting that authorities need to take further steps to solve the problems in enforcing the law and to raise legal consciousness and moral concepts of juvenile protection throughout society.