National political advisor proposes strengthening of governance system to prevent sexual assault against children in rural areas
Published: Mar 06, 2023 12:02 PM
Young Chinese students learn how to protect themselves from sexual harassment in a class to publicize sex education and prevention from sexual assault at Beida Huaishu No.1 Primary School in Jinan, East Chinas Shandong Province. Photo: IC

Young Chinese students learn how to protect themselves from sexual harassment in a class to publicize sex education and prevention from sexual assault at Beida Huaishu No.1 Primary School in Jinan, East Chinas Shandong Province. Photo: IC

As the number of cases of sexual assault on minors continues to increase in China, which has become the most prominent crime against minors in recent years, a national political advisor submitted a proposal to the ongoing two sessions urging the authorities to strengthen governance systems to prevent sexual assault on children in rural areas.

Wu Bixia, member of the communist youth league and youth federation of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) , also professor of vocal music and opera department of China Conservatory of Music, suggested setting up pilot areas to speed up the development of a comprehensive system of early warning, detection, reporting and assistance for child sexual abuse in rural areas, bridge the gap between awareness and law in rural areas, effectively safeguard the rights and interests of rural children, and further alleviate the problem that child sexual abuse cases in rural areas are less likely to be detected and more difficult to enter the judicial process, China Youth Daily reported.

On March 1, the Supreme People's Procuratorate held a press conference on "welcoming the two sessions and introducing the procuratorial work over the past five years." According to the press conference, over the past five years, procuratorates have prosecuted 290,000 crimes against minors. Among them 131,000 people were prosecuted for crimes of sexual assault against minors, including rape and child molestation, which have become the most prominent crimes against minors.

In spite of laws and regulations, there is a lack of national and institutional arrangements for sexual assault prevention education for minors, and there are no official textbooks or curriculum standards for sexual assault prevention education and more comprehensive sex education. The Law on the Protection of Minors was recently revised and implemented in June 2021 and the Regulations on the Protection of Minors in Schools issued by the Ministry of Education in September 2021, have made relevant statements about "prevention of sexual assault." 

The problem of child sexual abuse is particularly serious in rural areas. A charity organization, Girls' Protection, found that the lack of family guardianship of left-behind children is widespread. Rural schools and communities have a large gap with the urban self-protection education and basic physiological education. Coupled with the impact of ideology, social customs, many rural children do not know how to distinguish sexual assault, do not know how to respond to sexual assault. 

At the same time, the use of smart phones is very common among rural children. Coupled with the impact of the epidemic in recent years, rural children are more vulnerable to new online sexual abuse under the condition of weak supervision.

Therefore, Wu suggested increasing the special investment in rural areas. She suggested that government departments take the lead, local committees for women and children coordinate the work to popularize knowledge of child sexual assault prevention for children and their guardians in rural areas.

At the same time, the law education should be strengthened, and the "compulsory reporting system of cases against minors" and other relevant processes concerning children's vital interests should be popularized among rural communities.

Education authorities should prioritize developing a national teaching plan and curriculum for children's sexual assault prevention designed for parents, Wu said. In light of different age groups, the gap between urban and rural areas and other factors, education departments should reasonably determine the curriculum and curriculum content to ensure that the curriculum is scientific and effective. At the same time, the authorities should give greater priority to education training in rural areas.

Wu suggested that relevant laws and regulations be implemented as soon as possible, and that sexual assault prevention education be included in the regular teaching of nine-year compulsory education and included in the compulsory curriculum of elementary and secondary schools.

Separately, Fang Yan, deputy of the 14th National People's Congress, senior partner of Beijing Jincheng Tongda Law Firm, also suggested that sex education for minors be included in daily teaching, and that public security, education and other departments form a joint inspection team to carry out regular special inspections and rectification of educational institutions over the sexual harassment and assault issues.

Global Times