Pros­e­cu­tors test ways to stop child abuse

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By LI LEI lilei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Courts na­tion­wide pros­e­cuted 77 kinder­garten em­ploy­ees on charges of child abuse be­tween Jan­uary and Novem­ber, with an­other 69 ar­rested and await­ing trial, the top pros­e­cut­ing author­ity said on Thurs­day.

While the num­bers are not large, an ex­pert has said they show that author­i­ties are pay­ing greater at­ten­tion to child pro­tec­tion, in­clud­ing against sex­ual preda­tors.

Shi Weizhong, deputy di­rec­tor of ju­ve­nile pros­e­cu­tion for the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate, said lo­cal author­i­ties are test­ing sev­eral meth­ods to stop con­victed sex of­fend­ers from work­ing with mi­nors, such as at preschools.

“Some lo­cal procu­ra­torates have made com­mend­able at­tempts and achieved good re­sults,” he said at a news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day.

He cited two ex­am­ples: Shang­hai, which has a data­base of sex of­fend­ers that al­lows em­ploy­ers to run back­ground checks on po­ten­tial hires; and Shan­dong prov­ince, which has a plat­form for po­lice of­fi­cers to alert spe­cial­ist pros­e­cu­tors of po­ten­tial child abuse cases early, to make in­ves­ti­ga­tions faster and more ef­fi­cient.

The SPP sees lo­cal procu­ra­torates as “lab­o­ra­to­ries for pros­e­cut­ing crimes against ju­ve­niles”, Shi said, adding that other re­gions will be en­cour­aged to repli­cate suc­cess­ful prac­tices.

A se­ries of high-pro­file scan­dals have thrown a spot­light onto child pro­tec­tion, draw­ing more at­ten­tion from the pub­lic and author­i­ties.

The SPP is­sued a cir­cu­lar on abuse at kin­der­gartens on Dec 1, which re­sulted in pros­e­cu­tors step­ping up as­sis­tance for po­lice in in­ves­ti­ga­tions as well as ed­u­cat­ing the man­agers of preschools on how to keep their stu­dents safe.

“Peo­ple used to re­gard phys­i­cal pun­ish­ment as a way for teach­ers to dis­ci­pline their stu­dents, but the num­ber of ar­rests and pros­e­cu­tions this year show both the pub­lic and pros­e­cu­tors are re­al­iz­ing it is a prob­lem,” said Song Yinghui, a law pro­fes­sor at Bei­jing Nor­mal Univer­sity.

On Nov 13, Shang­hai po­lice de­tained a sus­pect sur­named Zheng who ran a day care cen­ter where staff mem­bers were filmed hit­ting tod­dlers. Three em­ploy­ees were also de­tained.

Around the same time, Bei­jing po­lice de­tained teach­ers over al­leged child abuse at a kinder­garten op­er­ated by Golden Cra­dle Education. The com­pany has more than 700 kin­der­gartens and schools na­tion­wide.

The Bei­jing Education Com­mis­sion con­ducted a citywide safety in­spec­tion of kin­der­gartens last month, with the re­sults listed in a data­base. Those with po­ten­tial risks or prob­lems were told to make im­me­di­ate im­prove­ments.

Zheng Xin­jian, di­rec­tor of ju­ve­nile pros­e­cu­tion for the SPP, said in ad­di­tion to the work by lo­cal procu­ra­torates, leg­is­la­tors should also look to strengthen the laws on child pro­tec­tion.

“Though ex­ist­ing laws have clauses to pro­tect chil­dren, they are scat­tered in dif­fer­ent laws and it’s not sys­tem­atic. That causes prob­lems,” he said.

Though ex­ist­ing laws have clauses to pro­tect chil­dren, they are scat­tered in dif­fer­ent laws and it’s not sys­tem­atic. That causes prob­lems.” Zheng Xin­jian,

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