Database aims to shield minors from abusers

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Prosecuting departments will enhance their cooperation with educational, civil and sports departments nationwide to set up a database of people who have sexually abused minors, with the goal of preventing abusers from taking jobs near places where young people congregate, a senior official of the Supreme People's Procuratorate said.

A pilot program is being conducted in Shanghai and Jiangsu province. After accumulating more experience, the measure will be expanded nationally within five years, said Shi Weizhong, director of the SPP's No 9 prosecutorial department, which was established recently to handle cases involving minors.

"People who have criminal records of sexual assault or involving obscenity will be blacklisted and barred from working in 11 industries, including schools, kindergartens, training agencies, medical institutions, amusement venues, charity agencies, stadiums and libraries," he told China Daily.

Protection of minors is expected to be highlighted in the SPP's work report, which will be delivered to the ongoing session of 13th National People's Congress on Tuesday.

Shi said a database has been set up in prosecuting departments, and if the educational, civil and sports entities want to further check the information provided by recruiters, they can get more from prosecutors.

According to the SPP, between January and November last year, 44,800 people were prosecuted on charges of harming juveniles. Crimes against children included various forms of sexual assault, abduction, trafficking, violent injury and other abuse.

In July 2017, a pilot program in Shanghai was launched. As of the end of January this year, the blacklist in Shanghai's Minhang district had grown to 3,800 sex abusers. Shi said the system in Minhang had screened 11,000 employees and 1,000 newly recruited staff members in target industries.

According to a recent report released at a forum attended by deputies of the ongoing two sessions in Beijing, 317 sexual abuse cases involving more than 750 children were reported by media last year.

Nearly 96 percent of the victims were girls and about 4 percent were boys. About 21 percent were under 7 and nearly 59 percent were between 7 and 14 years old.

Shi said sexual assaults are usually perpetrated by acquaintances, including a child's teacher, neighbor or relative, and that serious physical and psychological harm results.

One typical case was concluded in May, when a man in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, was sentenced to 11 years in prison by Nanjing's Xuanwu District People's Court for child molestation. The man, Jiang Chengfei, fabricated his identity and company, claiming to be a recruiter of child stars for film studios and TV stations.

Between May 2015 and November 2016, Jiang contacted girls through QQ chats and asked for nude photos, claiming he had to check their figures and physical development, according to the court.

By threatening to put the photos online, he then induced some girls to engage in obscene behavior via video chat. Thirty-one children were involved in the case, the court said.

Speaking of the blacklist, Shi said, "It's more than necessary to establish an inquiry system and prevent such people from getting jobs that are in close touch with minors."

Yang Zhen, a prosecutor from Shanghai Minhang District People's Procuratorate, said most people supported the measure and affirmed its effectiveness in protecting juveniles.

"But some people are still concerned that the inquiry system could infringe on the privacy of the sex abusers," she said. "More judicial interpretations are needed before the system can be expanded."

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