Editor’s note: this article was translated and edited from a piece which appeared on Ifeng.com. After the shocking exposure of a child molestation case that occurred in Hainan, there was a sudden explosion of reporting similar cases that had occurred recently across China. The article details these individual cases, then goes on to mention tougher child abuse laws that were recently introduced by the Supreme Court. The article then discusses how and why cases such as these occur, and what China and its authorities should do to prevent them.
On May 8, the shocking story of the primary school principal and public official who sexually molested six girls in a hotel in Hainan broke across many national and international news bodies. During the 20 day period between May 8 and May 27, there were another seven reports of cases of sexual assaults on girls in schools in China. Despite some of the other seven cases occurring some time ago, they have only just been reported in the Chinese media. Listed below are details of the eight cases (including the Hainan case) that were reported in the 20 day period between May 8 and May 27.
1) May 8: Hainan Wanning Principal takes 6 girls to hotel
Six female grade six students of Wanning Primary School suddenly disappeared, which caused panic among the parents and the school’s teachers. It was later discovered that Chen Zaipeng, Principal of the school along with a House Management Bureau official named Feng Xiaosong had taken the girls to a local hotel. When the girls were found, they appeared to be drowsy and also had bruises on their bodies. Both Chen and Feng have been sacked from their positions and are currently being prosecuted under rape charges.
2) May 15: Principal of school in Qianshan, Anhui, molested 9 girls in 12 years
A reporter learned that a man surnamed Yang, who was the Principal of a school in Qianshan Country, Anhui, had sexually assaulted nine young girls in the space of 12 years. Currently, Yang is facing prosecution of charges related to rape and molestation. It was reported that Yang had molested girls as young as six.
3) May 18: Teacher from Shucheng, Anhui
Mrs. Tang, of Shucheng County, Anhui, went to the police after she became suspicious that her seven year old daughter had been the victim of sexual abuse. Later, a math teacher in his 50s named Wang was detained and admitted to molesting the girl.
4) May 20: Two Qingdao kindergarten security guards
It was reported that two security guards who worked for a kindergarten in Qingdao’s Laoshan District were under suspicion of sexually assaulting a child at the school. Both Wang, 20, and Liu, 22 are currently in police custody as investigations continue.
5) May 21: 54 year old teacher from Tongbai, Henan
A 54 year old primary school teacher named Yang Shifu was discovered by a boy student to be molesting a girl at a school in Tongbai County, Henan. It was later learned than Yang had been sexually assaulting students in between lessons since spring 2012. Yang was then removed from his position and placed into police custody on May 23. Investigations are still underway.
6) May 21: Teacher from Jiahe, Hunan, found to have molested many girls
During the evening of May 21, Zeng Xingming, a math teacher at a primary school in Jiahe County, Henan, was reported to have molested several girl students. Although it isn’t known exactly when these molestations took place, Zeng reportedly sexually assaulted six girls. On May 26, Zeng was fired from his job and taken into custody.
7) May 22: Principal in Leizhou, Guangdong sexually assaulted 2 girls in 5 years
After parents of students of a primary school in Leizhou, Guangdong, reported that their Principal, surnamed Zheng, had sexually assaulted two sixth grade girls, Zheng turned himself in. Zheng reportedly molested the two girls multiple times over a space of five years, and is now in police custody.
8) May 27: Shenzhen teacher abused 4 children
At Hongji School in Shenzhen’s Nanshan District, it was reported that a 42 year old teacher surnamed Wu had abused four girls from August 2012. Wu apparently abused the girls during the school’s afternoon break time when the girls were sleeping as well as after school finished on Fridays. The youngest of the girls abused was eight years old. Police placed Wu into custody on May 27.
The aftermath: Supreme Court introduces tougher rulings
On May 29, China’s Supreme Court announced that harsher punishments were to be handed out, with child rape and molestation possibly resulting in the death penalty. Xue Shulan, an associate Supreme Court judge, told China National Radio, “All levels of people’s courts should step up punishment over crimes against minors and should hand out death penalties to criminals who severely harm the rights of the under-aged. There should be absolutely no mercy.” On the same day, the court also publicized three other cases (not related to the eight above) where these stricter punishments had been put into place.
Case 1: Teacher executed for raping 6 girls between 2009 and 2011
A 47 year-old teacher surnamed Bao was reported to have molested seven girls repeatedly, and raped six of these girls several times between April 2009 and June 2011. According to the Supreme Court’s announcement on May 27, Bao has been executed for his crimes. Presumably for legal reasons, the location of the incident and the name of the school have not been published.
Case 2: Man executed for beating stepdaughter to death
Li Yanqin of Pingshun County, Shanxi, beat his stepdaughter to death on May 2012. During his trial, Li defended his actions and claimed he was “educating” his stepdaughter. Li was later sentenced to death, though his penalty was suspended for two years due to the fact he eventually admitted his crimes and was said to have a “good attitude” later in court.
Case 3: Child burglary organizer sentenced to over 7 years in jail
Between August 2008 and February 2011, Deng Jiawen organized and commanded groups of child burglars in Guangdong’s Wengyuan County. The court sentence Deng to seven years and six months in jail, and also fined him 4,000 RMB. Although not directly related to child molestation, this case serves as an example of the stricter punishments issued by the Supreme Court regarding child protection laws.
Why haven’t these cases been reported until recently?
Many of the recently exposed child molestation cases at schools were incidents which had been going on for long periods of time, so why have they only been reported now? One Head of a primary school in Guangzhou explained, “I believe that this is down to the fact that education workers weren’t vigilant enough, and thought that the actual possibility of such things really occurring was very low.” Deputy Director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute Xiong Bingqi thinks sex education in China is to blame, and argues that, “For a very long time, our sex education hasn’t portrayed the ‘nasty side’ of sexual relations, and children don’t think to tell their parents should anything such as this happen to them. If young students are aware of these dangers and know how to protect themselves, then the moment they experience or play witness to such abuse, they would know to immediately tell someone.”
Why is there such a sudden emergence of molestation cases in schools?
The fact that so many cases were reported in the space of only 20 days is certainly quite shocking, although this doesn’t suggest that the phenomenon is an especially new one. Xiong Bingqi states “Actually, these cases have been going on the whole time, and didn’t suddenly pop up at the same time. It’s just that previously, they simply weren’t exposed to the public.” Xiong went on to remind that each time such a case occurs, it is of upmost importance to ensure that the victims are protected, otherwise it could have a lasting impact on the child later in life. However, some rural schools lack the resources and expertise to ensure that the psychological damage is reduced. Xiong believes that in light of this, public welfare organizations and charities should help out.
How do we prevent such incidents from occurring again?
Some academics have pointed out that the problem of sexual abuse cases in schools is caused by a lack of teacher’s ethics, however Xiong disagrees. “This has nothing to do with morals; it is to do with the law. Saying that such crimes are due to a lack of ethics is really overshadowing the bigger picture.” Xiong believes that such cases should be immediately passed over to the judiciary system. However, there are currently many arduous bureaucratic measures in place that make the processes of dealing with such cases very difficult. Furthermore, many other similar scandals are often known to crop up in China; many of which are seldom looked into by the judiciary system. For Xiong, rule of law regarding the protection of minors is absolutely paramount when solving this problem.
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Keywords: student molestation in China student molestation cases in China
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not to mean that the above are less deplorable cases, but let me ask: what is wrong with eChina cities that it neglects publishing remarkable news about foreigners causing misery in China? Everyone in China talks about the following: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2013-06/07/content_16582733.htm http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/asia/story/us-teacher-held-sexual-abuse-children-shanghai-french-school-20130606 http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2013-04/27/content_16454588.htm http://bbs.chinadaily.com.cn/thread-854944-1-1.html http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1226267/foreign-english-teachers-face-scrutiny-after-sex-scandals nor sure why no one at eChinaCities neglected highlighting those news, which downgrade even further the image of English teachers in China, and I would dare to say the image of all foreigners in China. Perhaps they were too busy searching for more pictures of Chinese females. What is coming clear is that eChinaCities is proving not to measure up to the expectations of educated, respectful foreigners who would like to read news about China, or even find a job there. It is not serious to post your CV on a site plagued with girls pictures.
Jun 27, 2013 06:54 Report Abuse
If you tell a child off when they do something bad they don't stop doing it and they may double their effort to not be caught again or go further because they are going to be in trouble anyway.... How many people do bad things and think "It won't happen to me?"..... Punishment stops that one person but ignores the fact that many more will keep doing it. If the threat of death worked, then there would be no crime but you just have to look around and read the news to know that is not the case.... If you have a society that has the ideal that, if you are in charge you can do what you want and get away with it, then you are going to have this situation, you have created this situation. Killing a person for something they have already done is about as smart as winning an argument by punching someone in the face. You have not changed a thing, in fact you will cement the persons opposition to you and show them that you have no ideas but i guess that only leaves death.
Jun 22, 2013 15:20 Report Abuse