Children are not private property of their parents
ON AUG 8, the local police in Jinan city, capital of East China’s Shandong province, issued a press release about a man beating his 15-year-old son to death. Beijing News comments:
According to the statement by the police, the man told the boy to work in the fields but when he arrived home at about 7 pm, he found the boy had not done as he instructed. He then kicked and beat his son with a stick, and did not send him to hospital even though his son was badly wounded. The boy later died at home.
Now the suspect has been detained by the local police and he is expected to face criminal charges. However, a deeper look into the case finds the boy’s death could have been avoided.
The victim’s mother left home about 12 years ago. And the father gave the boy little food, refused to send him to school, ordered him to work in the fields and beat him quite often.
The village officials tried many times to persuade the suspect to treat his son better, but their efforts failed.
Parents are natural guardians of underage youths, but the latter are not their private property. According to the General Provisions of the Civil Law, newly passed by the legislature in 2017, when a guardian seriously harms the physical or mental health of their ward, a local court should deprive the guardian of their right to guardianship, arrange temporary guardianship, and appoint new guardians as necessary.
Parents are no exception to the law. Further, local authorities and social organizations, such as village committees, the civil affairs department of the local government, even the local underage protection associations could all take the parent to court.
So the question is: The local village committee obviously knew the man was mistreating his son, why did it not take the man to court so the boy could be taken into care? The abuse lasted years, where was the local civil affairs department?
We hope village committees and civil affairs departments nationwide will shoulder their child protection responsibilities and prevent any similar tragedies in the future.