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September 21, 2011

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Child compensation payout hike

COMPENSATION payment limits for city children killed or injured in accidents will increase by almost 50 percent under proposed new regulations.

However, the latest draft of the amendment to regulations on school student accidents does not make a provision for compensation for mental trauma.

Under the amended rules, payments of up to 636,760 yuan (US$99,723) could be made if a child is killed or injured in an accident.

The current compensation standard is 440,800 yuan if a child dies in an accident and up to 399,600 yuan if they are injured.

But local legislators point out that compensation, which covers medical bills, nutrition fees, salary losses for parents and transport expenses, fails to include compensation for mental anguish.

Lawmaker Li Ming told Shanghai Daily that this was a vital category, bearing in mind that most families have only one child.

If a child dies or is seriously injured in an accident, the blow would be all the worse for parents if they were unable to have another child, he said.

"Their mental state would be a result of what happened and we should offer them some help," Li added.

But fellow lawmaker Hu Yanzhao said a mental compensation clause should not be included, arguing it was difficult to measure.

While injuries are straightforward to detail, "mental compensation is not so easy to gauge," said Hu.

And officials from the city's education authority said they did not approve mental compensation as they thought it would be difficult to assess.

The draft for the first time offers the same compensation standard to families from rural areas of Shanghai. Presently, they only receive up to two-thirds of the amount paid to urban residents as the current formula is based on living costs.

In 2001, the city introduced insurance companies to deal with compensation. Children pay a small amount into the fund every year.

A total of 2,506 accidents related to schools were reported between 2001 and last semester, and 21.69 million yuan has been offered to families.

Families also have the option of pursuing compensation in court.


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