Abused 3rd-grader re­turned to step­mother

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By XU JINGXI in Guangzhou xujingxi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A 10-year-old boy in Heyuan, Guang­dong prov­ince, who was vi­o­lently beaten by his step­mother and sent to live tem­po­rar­ily with a rel­a­tive, has re­turned home but is not re­quest­ing any le­gal pun­ish­ment against his step­mother, a se­nior of­fi­cial from the city’s women’s fed­er­a­tion said on Thurs­day.

The pub­lic se­cu­rity bureau of Heyuan’s Yuancheng district said on Wed­nes­day that the third­grader was vi­o­lently beaten by his step­mother af­ter he got home from school with his clothes soaked from a rainy May day. She had ac­cused the boy of play­ing in wa­ter and beat him.

Pho­tos from the bureau showed bruises all over the boy’s body.

Ac­cord­ing to Yuancheng po­lice, the step­mother had been beat­ing the boy for a long pe­riod of time. Two years ago, she be­gan beat­ing the boy with clothes hang­ers two or three times a week if she thought he was ly­ing or be­ing disobedient.

The of­fi­cial from the Heyuan Women’s Fed­er­a­tion, who pro­vided only her sur­name Deng and who is the di­rec­tor of the depart­ment of rights pro­tec­tion, said the step­mother is re­pen­tant and promised po­lice and the neigh­bor­hood com­mit­tee that she will not beat the boy again.

“Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice, the boy said his fa­ther is not at home through­out the year and that the step­mother also takes care of his younger sis­ters. He hopes that his step­mother won’t be pun­ished,” Deng said.

The boy’s fa­ther works in Dong­guan, Guang­dong prov­ince. His step­mother has two daugh­ters, an 8-year-old and an 18-mon­thold tod­dler.

Yuancheng po­lice said on Thurs­day it won’t pur­sue le­gal ac­tion against the boy’s step­mother based on re­quests by the boy and his fa­ther.

“Crimes of abuse in a fam­ily are cases of pri­vate prose­cu­tion. Only when the abused is se­ri­ously in­jured or has died can the po­lice ac­quire the rights of ju­ris­dic­tion,” Yuancheng po­lice said.

Ac­cord­ing to the coun­try’s crim­i­nal law, people who mis­treat fam­ily mem­bers can be de­tained, con­trolled or jailed for a max­i­mum of two years. Those who cause se­ri­ous in­juries or death can be im­pris­oned for 2 to 7 years.

Lawyer Wang Biaochen from the depart­ment of rights pro­tec­tion at the Guang­dong Women’s Fed­er­a­tion urged law­mak­ers to cre­ate spe­cial laws to pre­vent do­mes­tic vi­o­lence to­ward chil­dren.

“The tra­di­tional view that beat­ing chil­dren is a nor­mal, ef­fec­tive way of ed­u­cat­ing them is wrong and is wide­spread among Chi­nese par­ents. When people hear their neigh­bors beat­ing kids, they usu­ally are not aware that they should re­port it to the po­lice,” Wang said.

“The govern­ment needs to strengthen pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion on pre­vent­ing and stop­ping do­mes­tic vi­o­lence to­ward chil­dren. If people have spe­cial laws that al­low them to re­port such crimes, it will help solve the prob­lem.”

The Guangzhou Women’s Fed­er­a­tion com­mis­sioned Sun Yat­sen Univer­sity to con­duct a photo sur­vey in the city about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in late 2013 and pub­lished the re­sults on Wed­nes­day. Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, which polled more than 1,000 res­i­dents aged 16 and above, only 37.5 per­cent of those polled la­beled beat­ings of chil­dren by par­ents or rel­a­tives as abuse.

Wang ad­vised main­land law­mak­ers to learn from their coun­ter­parts in Hong Kong and Tai­wan and list ev­ery govern­ment and so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tion that should be in­volved in han­dling do­mes­tic vi­o­lence cases in­volv­ing chil­dren.

He Baoqi con­trib­uted to this story.

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