Students involved in bullying could be sent to special schools to undergo correctional education, according to a new governmental regulation issued on Wednesday in a bid to establish an effective mechanism to protect students from bullying.
Schools will be the main liable party when cases of school bullying are discovered, according to the regulation jointly released by 11 government agencies, including the Ministry of Education, Central Committee for Comprehensive Treatment of Social Management and the Supreme People's Court.
Schools will be asked to conduct initial investigations and determine if a case constitutes bullying within 10 days. If the cases are of a controversial nature and the parties involved wish to appeal, a review should be made and completed within 15 days.
For minor cases of bullying, schools should reprimand and educate the student involved and ensure that an apology is made.
For more severe cases that have resulted in obvious physical and mental harm to the victim, students may need to undergo education from the public security bureau.
If students who bully others do not learn their lesson or the case is severe, they will need to receive education in special schools.
A school bully is defined as someone who intentionally and maliciously causes physical, financial or mental harm to others through speech, physical abuse or online abuse.
The regulation also notes that schools must clearly differentiate between bullying and play between students.
Since 2016, the Chinese government has published a series of documents aimed at strengthening schools' ability to deal with bullying.