Beijing moves to protect children at risk

Updated 2017-05-25 09:30:30 China Daily

Beijing prosecutors are working with the municipal government and education institutes to set up a system to better protect children against abuse.

The city's procuratorate signed a framework agreement on Wednesday with several departments and agencies, including those responsible for schools, civil affairs and social security, to create a network to identify minors at risk.

"The system will help us spot clues as well as send advice on juvenile protection to schools and administrations," said Zhen Zhen, the deputy chief procurator. "We also hope departments will provide feedback and share information about juvenile cases through the system."

She added that the system will also be used to increase children's awareness of how to protect themselves.

News of the system came as the Beijing People's Procuratorate reported that courts citywide had handled 1,108 criminal cases that involved children age 17 or under between 2014 and 2016. The children had been injured or sexually assaulted by an adult.

"Cases in which adults harmed a juvenile have risen rapidly in the past three years," said Yue Huiqing, director of the procuratorate's juvenile crime department, which handles crimes committed by or against juveniles.

Abuse of a child accounts for about the two-thirds of the department's cases, "and the number is going up, with most offenses being sexual assaults", she said.

Some 1,255 offenders received "strict punishments" over the three years, Yue said. However, she added: "Child victims have little awareness of self-protection and are sometimes afraid to tell their parents after they are assaulted, which makes it difficult for us to investigate and collect evidence."

She said many sexual assaults of children were perpetrated by someone familiar to the victim, and that the age of minor victims is becoming younger.

In May last year, a 63-year-old man surnamed Li, who was responsible for facility management in a community, was sentenced to one year in jail for sexual assault by Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court.

Li found that the parents of a 5-year-old girl had gone to work and left her alone playing in the community. So he took her to his rental house and sexually assaulted her, the court said.

In another case, a man surnamed Wu, a native of Hebei province, forced his niece, who was less than 12 years old, to have sex with him when he lived in her home in 2014, according to a statement from Beijing Miyun District People's Court.

Wu was sentenced in March 2015 to five years and six months in prison for rape.

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