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December 12, 2013

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Experts call for clearer law on child protection

The city needs tougher and more specific child protection law about guardianship because the current law is difficult to be implemented because of legal conundrum, experts said at a seminar yesterday.

China’s current law about the protection of minors does not mention specific punishment, but stipulates that lawsuits can be filed when the rights and interests of minors are harmed.

Experts called for clearer and detailed provisions on the duties of guardians, like the circumstances under which guardians could be deemed as not fulfilling obligations.

Questions were raised about minors’ protection and guardianship, especially in China’s rural areas.

In September, a 22-year-old mother whose daughters were found starved to death after she left them at home alone was sentenced to life in prison in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.

She left little food for her daughters and then locked them at home for nearly two months between April and June. The toddlers, aged one and two, were found dead by a policeman.

Legal experts said her pregnancy would make a death penalty ruling impossible. She was detained before for taking drugs in 2012, while her boyfriend was released from jail after serving time for drug abuse.

It raised concerns over how to improve guardianship and child rescue system to avoid similar incidents and prevent injuries to children.

“The current laws on the underage fail to match the real situation, are not specific, and lack supporting regulations and policies. A lot of problems relate to guardianship that need to be addressed,” said Liu Qi, vice president of Shanghai Women’s Federation.

The policies on child protection are not complete as well, she said.

Tong Xiaojun, deputy director of the social work research center of the China Youth University for Political Sciences, said a coordinated government department should be set up to better protect children.

Moreover, laws on child protection should specify details on what can be defined as abuse, violence, exploitation and negligence, Tong said.



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