62.5% agree hitting kids is fine: survey

By Jiang Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2014-5-15 0:23:01

Beating children is not considered domestic violence by 62.5 percent of interviewees in a Guangzhou survey, a report published on Tuesday revealed.

Without clarifying exactly how the statistics were compiled, the report included three samples: 1,000 residents randomly selected for phone interview, questionnaires collected from more than 1,610 neighborhoods and a review of cases of abuse handled by the Women's Federation of Guangzhou in the South China city.

Conducted by Sun Yat-sen University and the federation, the report found 37.5 percent of respondents recognized hitting children as domestic violence in the Guangdong Province city.

The survey found 86.6 percent of domestic violence was between husband and wife, while another 28.5 percent was against children by their biological parents.

The survey also found that over the last four years, the number of reported domestic violence cases has been about 500 a year in Guangzhou.

Most cases involved verbal insults and threats, but others included physical and mental torture.

In response, Guangzhou has set up six shelters for protection and assistance that have helped 17 women and children in the last two years. The report noted 50 percent of grass-roots anti-violence institutes are understaffed and lack funding.

Controlling domestic violence requires specific laws and detailed regulations that include concepts like restraint orders and legal accountability, federation official Jie He was quoted as saying by the Guangzhou-based New Express.

There is no legal framework for public institutions like schools and hospitals to report child abuse, Feng Yuan, co-founder of the Anti-Domestic Violence Network, told the Global Times.

The nation has yet to deprive a single abusive parent of guardianship or to exercise national guardianship to guarantee the best interests of children, she explained.

"Domestic violence is a demonstration of extreme inequity in family power relations, while child abuse reflects the authoritative control of senior family members over children and sometimes families force children through violence to live up to their stereotyped expectations of different genders," Feng Yuan said.

 "There is also a negative impact on children if they witness domestic violence in their families." 

Most child abuse occurs during family conflict, but economic pressure and chauvinist traditions also generate violence against children, Zhang Xuemei, director of China Child, an NGO dedicated to teenagers' rights, was quoted as saying by Legal Daily.

Traditional Chinese culture has also halted others from helping minors, Zhang explained, which also explained the lack of legal attention and involvement by society.

A series of brutal abuse cases have scarred Chinese society in recent years.

Yang Shihai, a father from Southwest China's Guizhou Province, was sentenced to 18 months in prison last year for the brutal physical abuse and torturous assault of his 11-year-old daughter.

The daughter was pierced with needles, forced to kneel on broken glass, and once had her mouth sewn shut with a fishing line to "keep her quiet," according to the evidence collected by judicial authorities.

Yang also picked up his daughter by her feet and dipped her head into a pot of boiling water, leaving permanent damage on the girl's scalp.

In September 2013, a mother from Nanjing, Jiangsu Province was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder after she left her two young daughters to starve to death.
Newspaper headline: Beating children acceptable to majority of Guangzhou respondents

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