Child pro­tec­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By JIN HAIXING jin­haix­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ex­perts have re­newed calls for a uni­fied depart­ment tasked with pre­vent­ing abuse, af­ter a cou­ple in Cen­tral China was ac­cused of beat­ing their adopted daugh­ter to death.

Ex­perts have re­newed calls for a gov­ern­ment depart­ment to over­see child pro­tec­tion cases af­ter a cou­ple in Hu­nan prov­ince was ac­cused of beat­ing their adopted daugh­ter to death.

Po­lice in Hu­nan said a cou­ple was de­tained last month on sus­pi­cion of killing the 3-year-old girl.

Po­lice did not iden­tify the hus­band’s name be­cause an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the death is on­go­ing. How­ever, the woman has been iden­ti­fied in Chi­nese me­dia as hav­ing the sur­name Yi.

The fam­ily’s lawyer, Huang Fulin, said on Thurs­day that Yi se­verely beat her daugh­ter for wet­ting her pants on Nov 24 at their home in Zhuzhou’s Lu­song dis­trict.

The next day, when the par­ents came home from work, they found the child dead. The fa­ther then no­ti­fied po­lice of the beat­ing.

Huang said Yi has con­fessed that she re­peat­edly beat her adopted daugh­ter to cor­rect bad habits.

Lo­cal me­dia re­ported that neigh­bors had warned po­lice in Septem­ber that the cou­ple had beaten the girl, but of­fi­cers agreed to let the child re­main with the fam­ily in­stead of send­ing her to a fos­ter home.

The tragedy has prompted calls for more pub­lic aware­ness and pro­fes­sional ser­vices to pre­vent child abuse. Cur­rently, child abuse cases and child pro­tec­tion ser­vices fall un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of var­i­ous gov­ern­ment de­part­ments. Cong Zhongx­iao, di­rec­tor of the China Na­tional Chil­dren’s Center, said the gov­ern­ment ur­gently needs to es­tab­lish a cen­tral depart­ment to over­see ef­forts.

“Chil­dren are of­ten too young to file a com­plaint of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, so a quick re­sponse sys­tem is es­sen­tial,” she said.

The abuse of chil­dren is a long­stand­ing prob­lem in China, where many peo­ple still think do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is a “pri­vate af­fair”, Cong said.

She called for com­mu­ni­ties to have des­ig­nated child pro­tec­tion sta­tions to pro­vide shel­ter for vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Tong Xiao­jun, a pro­fes­sor for the Po­lit­i­cal Sciences’ China So­cial Work Re­search Center at China Youth Univer­sity, said deaths can be avoided if par­ents have ac­cess to pro­fes­sional ser­vices.

An as­sess­ment and sup­port sys­tem is also needed for par­ents who adopt chil­dren. Fol­low-up ses­sions and train­ing are also nec­es­sary for adop­tive par­ents, she said.

If au­thor­i­ties had acted sooner, Yi’s child might still be alive, she said.

“So­ci­ety lacks ba­sic knowl­edge of child pro­tec­tion, and many par­ents ac­tu­ally see their abuse as good for the child,” Tong said. Feng Zhi­wei in Chang­sha con­trib­uted to this story.

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