Legislators and political advisers have called for more action to be
taken to protect children, especially girls, from sexual assault.
Such measures include raising children's awareness by making content
related to the crime part of the curricula in China's nine-year
mandatory education system.
Sexual assaults on children have drawn increasing attention from the public over the past few years.
According to a report released on Tuesday by Girls Protection, a
foundation established in 2013 to protect girls from sexual assault, 332
such incidents were exposed by the media last year. Those cases
involved 845 victims, the youngest of whom was only 1 year old.
More than 90 percent of the victims were girls, the report said, and
more than 70 percent of the assaults were committed by people who have
frequent or close contact with children, such as teachers, relatives and
Zhao Wanping, a national legislator who has been dedicated to
researching children in rural areas, said many of the cases involved
leftbehind children in impoverished areas. These children usually live
with grandparents and lack the supervision or protection of their
parents, who work in other cities to support the family, he said.
"Under such circumstances, the children are vulnerable to people with
bad intentions, especially those who have frequent contact with them,"
said Zhao, who is also the deputy director of the Anhui Academy of
This issue has attracted the attention of many legislators and
political advisers, who are discussing potential actions and ideas.
Zhao Junfu, a Supreme People's Court judge, said the amendments to
the Criminal Law, which took effect on March 1, and the revised Minor
Protection Law, which will take effect on June 1, have placed further
emphasis on juvenile protection by adding content related to sexual
Amendments to the Criminal Law, for example, stipulated that those
who are found guilty of hurting children under age 10 could receive up
to 10 years in prison, he said.
The laws also include detailed arrangements after sexual assaults
occur, such as making efforts to protect the victims' privacy,
transferring the victims to other schools and offering financial
support, Zhao said.
Zhu Lieyu, a national legislator and lawyer from Guangdong province,
said because many sexual assaults happen on school campuses, schools
should shoulder more responsibility in protecting and helping students,
such as by setting up hotlines for victims to report the crimes and
providing psychological guidance and other necessary support.
However, psychological intervention after the incidents is just a
remedial action with limited effect, Zhao Wanping said, adding that
precautions are more important.
"The very first step is to let children know what sexual assault is
and how they should react when facing such incidents," he said.
"Such information should be included in the textbooks used in the
mandatory education system (primary school and middle school) and taught
to raise children's awareness," he added.