Public demands longer sentence for Beijing kindergarten teacher for child needle case

By Xie Wenting Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/28 18:48:39

A woman leaves with a child after telling the media she came to withdraw the child from the RYB Kindergarten in Beijing in November, 2017. Chinese authorities were investigating allegations that children attending the school have been abused. Photo: IC

 A former kindergarten teacher was sentenced one year and six months in prison on Friday for abusing children with needles, sparking a public outcry as many people believe the sentence is too light.

Chaoyang District Court in Beijing on Friday morning sentenced Liu Ya'nan - former teacher at Beijing RYB Education New World Kindergarten - to 18 months in prison and banned her from employment in the childcare field for five years after she was discovered "piercing" four children with needles in November 2017. 

The court's verdict said Liu's behavior severely harmed the mental and physical health of the minors.

The ruling according to the court is based on China's Criminal Law, which stipulates that those who abuse minors, the elderly, patients or disabled people in their care can be sentenced to up to three years behind bars if the circumstances are serious.

But netizens have voiced widespread disappointment over the court's ruling, with many saying the penalty of committing such a heinous crime is too lenient.

Lü Xiaoquan, a lawyer with the Beijing Zhongze Women's Legal Counseling and Service Center, told the Global Times that the ruling is in compliance with the law, but it's too light given the harm it has brought to the entire educational industry as well as the severe public panic it aroused.

"There isn't an article in China's Criminal Law that is dedicated to the crime of child abuse. The crime of abuse in the eyes of the law is only applied to offenders and victims having familial relations and the relationship between teachers and students isn't covered under the law. The law really lags behind," Lü said. He called for the inclusion of broad child abuse law in Criminal Law.

The RYB abuse case aroused nationwide attention in November 2017 when audio and video recording in which children claimed they were given pills to induce sleep and had been given physical examinations by some "uncle and grandpa doctors," with one of the "doctors" allegedly being naked.

Later Beijing police cleared the kindergarten of sexual abuse, but Liu was found using needles to "tame" children.

To better improve the educational industry, the Ministry of Education (MOE) released in November new guidelines stipulate that any teacher confirmed to have abused, molested or sexually harassed students would be permanently prohibited from teaching in China.

Lü said that the court's ruling doesn't affect the implementation of MOE guidelines. Regarding the five years' ban for Liu ruled by the court, China's educational institutions are within their rights to stop her employment of Liu according to the guidelines.

Newspaper headline: Public demands heavier punishment for RYB abuser

Posted in: SOCIETY

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