Pros­e­cu­tors act to curb child abuse

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YAN zhangyan1@chi­

Of­fi­cial pledges zero tol­er­ance ap­proach to­ward at­tacks against mi­nors and sex­ual ex­ploita­tion.

Pros­e­cu­tors are to step up their ef­forts to tackle cases of sex­ual abuse of chil­dren, Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate said on May 27.

“We will adopt a zero tol­er­ance ap­proach to the sex­ual abuse of mi­nors and at­tempts to force them to en­gage in pros­ti­tu­tion,” said Xiao Wei, a spokes­women for the author­ity. “Once we ob­tain solid ev­i­dence we will im­me­di­ately ar­rest and pros­e­cute sus­pects.”

Zhang Xiangjun, deputy direc­tor of the author­ity’s pros­e­cut­ing depart­ment, said na­tional pros­e­cu­tors will at­tach great im­por­tance to in­ves­ti­gat­ing mis­con­duct by of­fi­cials who fail to act. Also, legal aid and psy­cho­log­i­cal coun­sel­ing for mi­nors will im­prove. “If we dis­cover that gov­ern­ment of­fi­cers have de­tected such crimes but have not taken ef­fec­tive mea­sures to stop them, and this re­sults in mi­nors dy­ing or suf­fer­ing se­vere in­juries, they will be held crim­i­nally accountable,” he said.

Re­cent high-pro­file cases of sex­ual abuse of mi­nors, ab­duc­tion and forced pros­ti­tu­tion have oc­curred na­tion­wide.

Ac­cord­ing to the procu­ra­torate, last year na­tional pros­e­cut­ing de­part­ments charged 3,239 sus­pects with sex­u­ally abus­ing mi­nors, ob­scene be­hav­ior or lur­ing young peo­ple into pros­ti­tu­tion, a sharp in­crease from 2013.

From 2010 to 2013, na­tional pros­e­cu­tors charged more than 8,069 sus­pects with lewd be­hav­ior with mi­nors in 7,963 cases, and pros­e­cuted 255 peo­ple charged with sex­u­ally abus­ing young girls in 150 cases.

“A lack of aware­ness among mi­nors, parental neg­li­gence and flawed safety man­age­ment in schools and so­ci­ety have all con­trib­uted to the sex­ual abuse of mi­nors,” Zhang said.

Tong Li­hua, direc­tor of the Bei­jing Chil­dren’s Legal Aid and Re­search Cen­ter, said few Chi­nese par­ents are aware of how im­por­tant sex ed­u­ca­tion is. Pri­mary and mid­dle schools of­fer only health classes rather than sex ed­u­ca­tion, and most young vic­tims don’t know how to pro­tect them­selves.

“Due to the lack of sex ed­u­ca­tion, some ju­ve­niles may not re­al­ize they have been sex­u­ally abused, and when such crimes oc­cur they are of­ten afraid to re­port them to the po­lice,” Tong added.

Shi Weizhong, a se­nior of­fi­cial at the pros­e­cut­ing depart­ment, said in an ear­lier in­ter­view that most young vic­tims are un­der 14 and come from mi­grant worker or sin­gle-par­ent fam­i­lies.

Tong said: “The laws to pro­tect mi­nors were re­vised in 2004 and lag far be­hind the prac­ti­cal needs. The pri­or­ity is to have upto-date laws to pro­tect mi­nors’ rights. The ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties and the civil af­fairs, ed­u­ca­tion and health­care sec­tors will then have clearly de­fined tasks and be able to work closely to fight such crimes.”

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