Child sex assault ‘fabricated’
Police arrest rumormonger of orphanage abuse
Local police on Thursday clarified that the case of alleged massive sexual assaults on left-behind children in orphanages in Southwest China’s Guizhou Province – which quickly went viral online the day before and sparked public outrage – was fabricated, saying that they had arrested the rumormonger.
The public security department of Guizhou announced on its Sina Weibo account that they had arrested a man surnamed Zhao for making up the story of children being sexually assaulted in Bijie and Kaili. Zhao collected explicit photos from the internet and attached them to the story, police said.
Further investigations are still underway, according to the announcement.
The Guizhou civil affairs department also said on Thursday that they found no case where children were being sexually assaulted after investigating 20 orphanages, noting that local civil affairs authorities are conducting a thorough investigation.
Netizens hailed Zhao’s arrest, with many criticizing him for faking such vicious and lousy news about children and making use of the public’s kindness to attract clicks and attention.
Good to know they were rumors, but the rumormonger must be severely punished, some netizens said. “What if people stop caring about such messages for so many who cry wolf?” others asked.
Netizens’ emotions were provoked by the incident because left-behind children are a big problem in the province, Zhu Wei, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times.
According to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, China had 6.97 million “leftbehind children” in the countryside as of August 2018. That figure dropped from 9.02 million in 2016.
Analysts also pointed out a stereotype of remote and poor areas, such as Bijie, where many left-behind children lack basic care and protection, which is part of the reason why many netizens believed the rumors at the beginning.
In 2014, a teacher in Bijie was arrested and charged for sexually assaulting more than 10 students aged between 8-12 years old. In 2016, a man, Wang Jie, was sentenced to 16 years in jail for raping teenage girls, many of whom were left-behind children, in Baise, South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Photos and screenshots of children allegedly being sexually assaulted went viral on Wednesday, which were not verified. They are all made up by Zhao, according to Guizhou police.