NPC deputy calls for stricter penalties to protect children

By Zhang Jiaqi
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 8, 2019
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After surveying the law enforcement around child abduction over the past year, Zhang Baoyan has brought new motions on child protection to Beijing, one of which is to achieve more effective crackdown by imposing stricter penalties.

Zhang Baoyan, a deputy to the second session of the 13th National People's Congress, in Beijing on March 4, 2019 [Photo by Zhang Jiaqi/]

Zhang, a deputy to the second session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), says the penalty for abducting and trafficking children now, which carries a minimum jail sentence of five years, cannot effectively deter criminals who abduct women and children.

"They should pay a heavier legal cost that can let them respect the law," Zhang said. The sentence she proposed in her motion is a minimum of ten years.

Last year, she became an NPC deputy and began to bring motions related to child protection to the national legislation body, but her efforts on child protection began 12 years ago, when she started a website called

The website, dubbed "Babies Come Back Home," aims to recover abducted children. It is affiliated with the Baobeihuijia Volunteers Association, a non-profit organization officially registered with China's Ministry of Civil Affairs. Zhang now heads the association, which leads around 300,000 volunteers in their work to help retrieve abducted children and carry out related work.

Zhang and her volunteers even helped in the remarkable cases of three homeless youths who were begging on the street, suffering from congenital cataracts. By seeking outside support, she found an entrepreneur to act as a benefactor, bringing the three children to Beijing for eye surgery. All three have now regain their eyesight and gotten jobs.

With such experiences making a deep impression on her, Zhang brought her motion to the NPC as a new deputy last year to establish an assistance system for people with major diseases.

Now, one year later, Zhang says she is satisfied with how that motion has been implemented, seeing the nation's major moves to improve medical services to people with major diseases, particularly cancer, including a zero tariff policy on imported anti-cancer drugs, the inclusion of 17 kinds of anti-cancer drugs into medical insurance and the pricing of such drugs by negotiation.

According to this year's government work report, the government will lower and unify the deductible line for serious disease insurance, and raise the reimbursement rate from 50 to 60 percent. Moreover, the report said that social protection for children in difficult situations will be improved.

On the question of why she is so dedicated to child protection, Zhang said that as a mother herself, she knows how much a child means to a family and how painful it is for a mother to lose her child.

"I do not want to let these parents down who lost their child, when they anchor their hope on this platform, especially when there are so many volunteers contributing to the cause," Zhang said with firm determination to carry on and continue her mission to increase child protection.

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