Abused 3rd-grader returned to stepmother
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.