Investigation underway into love affair between married female teacher and 16-y-o male student from senior high school in Shanghai
Published: Feb 20, 2024 08:39 PM
Stage photo from Japanese drama Majo no Jouken, which tells the forbidden love story between a female teacher and a male student. Photo: Sina Weibo

Stage photo from Japanese drama Majo no Jouken, which tells the forbidden love story between a female teacher and a male student. Photo: Sina Weibo

A married female teacher from a high school in Shanghai suspected of being involved in a love affair with her 16-year-old male student was suspended from her duties and has been placed under investigation, local education authority in Xuhui district responded to the public concerns on Tuesday, saying the involved personnel will be dealt with in accordance with laws and regulations based on the results of the investigation.

Screenshots of WeChat conversations between the teacher surnamed Zhang from Shanghai No.2 High School and her student surnamed Chang went viral over the past few days, showing their dialogues filled with flirts and containing information that they intended to or had more intimate behaviors at hotel rooms or mini cinemas.

According to the screenshots circulating online, the WeChat messages were exposed by the teacher’s husband surnamed Wu, who also exposed the adolescent’s real name and his clear full-face portrait. 

The school released a statement on Monday saying that they have launched an investigation together with related departments into the incident, and have suspended Zhang’s teaching duties. 

According to information circulating online, Zhang teaches chemistry and works as the class teacher of Chang’s class of senior high school grade one. Their conversation shows that the two people fell in requited love where they were attracted to each other. 

The sensational incident sparked heated discussions on China’s social media platforms where Chinese netizens gossiping about the two people’s chats full of sexual chemistry, intimacy and other private information, as well as how their conversation was spilled the beans by Zhang’s husband. 

While some netizens are drawing an analogy between their affair and the romantic relationship between French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, others are concerned on whether Zhang’s behavior constitute a crime since Chang is still a minor. 

Most legal experts believe that since there is no sign of rape or seduction exerted by Zhang based on their WeChat message content, the actions of the female teacher have not met the criminal threshold, but she may face disciplinary punishments from the education administrative department and the school. 

Zhou Zhaocheng, a lawyer from Beijing An Jian Law Office, told the Global Times on Tuesday that despite that their conversations were so blatant in content that cause extreme uncomfortable feelings, it is hard for the female teacher to be held accountable from the perspective of criminal law and the law on penalties for administration of public security. 

According to Zhou, since Chang, aged 16, has reached the age of consent of 14 years old according to China’s Criminal Law, the boy has the capability of deciding sexual behaviors. Besides, according to the sexual assault by person with caring responsibilities stipulated in the amendment to the criminal law, although the age of consent was raised to 16 years old, the law mostly protects underage females but not underage males. 

Zhou thinks that Zhang will probably be given administrative punishment or have her work contract terminated according to relevant regulations in China’s Teachers’ Laws. 

According to Zhou, despite that Chinese law protects minors at the age of 16 and below from sexual assault by person with caring responsibilities, in some other countries it’s different, such as US’ Model Penal Code which determines the age at 21 years old. 

Many universities in the US prohibit romantic relationships between teachers and students, referring to such relationships based on differences in experience, position and trust, as “sexual exploitation,” Zhou said. 

Thus, no matter how this case develops, the teacher should be held accountable for her moral misconducts as a teacher, Zhou added, noting that minors lack the capacity to discern their own actions. 

Besides, many legal experts suggest that males should also be included as victims of the crimes of rape and victims of sexual assault by person with caring responsibilities. 

“This is currently a topic of discussion in academic circles, and it remains a controversial topic in reality. The case once again exposes the dual dilemma of ethics and laws, and perhaps it is time to take another step forward to advance the legislation on sexual crimes,” Zhou said. 

On Tuesday, the Xuhui branch of Shanghai Public Security Bureau also denied the authenticity of a record of question that was assumed conducted with Wu, Zhang’s husband. The police denied such a leakage of the record and said relevant department is investigating into the incident but no more information can be disclosed for now, China Newsweek reported on Tuesday. 

Since the so-called record of question and the screenshots of the messages between Zhang and Chang contain lots of privacy of the persons concerned, legal experts noted that personnel who disclosed such information can be held accountable of infringement on 

Besides, the person who forged the police’s record of question can be fined up to 1,000 yuan ($138) or detained for up to 15 days for the forgery of official document of state organs according to China’s Law on Penalties for Administration of Public Security.