Child sex as­sault ‘fab­ri­cated’

Po­lice ar­rest ru­mor­mon­ger of or­phan­age abuse

Global Times US Edition - - CHINA - By Zhang Han

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.

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