Ban on Family Violence Urged in China

Legal experts and women rights advocates are urging new changes to the existing Marriage law.

"Banning family violence is a necessary part of the marriage law," said Hu Kangsheng, deputy director of the Legislative Affairs Commission under the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.

Family violence happens in 30 percent of Chinese families, according to surveys conducted by the All-China Women's Federation.

Of the bruised wives, 32.1 percent were regularly beaten four times a month, and 39 percent more than once every month, according to another survey by the Women's Federation of Guangdong Province.

Hu said that four out of five married women in the United States are physically assaulted by men. In China, high-degree injuries inside marriages is rising rapidly.

Out of 270 million families in China, more than 100,000 are break down every year because of family violence, he said.

The Chinese Constitution, criminal codes and other administrative regulations all prohibit family violence and the maltreatment of family members.

In south China's Guangdong Province, only seven were punished by courts at all levels last year.

Pi Xiaoming, author of "White Paper on Family Violence" and a well-known woman lawyer, said that Chinese women were usually victimized because of their physical disadvantage, their economic dependence on men, and poorer educational backgrounds.

According to the NPC official, experts and officials have no disagreements on the ban of family violence, but they differ in defining what exactly constitutes family violence.

"For instance, should the sexual act not consented by the wife constitute family violence?" he said.

Officials and experts also advocated that in addition to the existing punitive laws and regulations on family violence and maltreatment of family members, the new marriage law should also strengthen efforts to aid victims and deter perpetrators, and thus better protect the rights and interests of women, children and the elderly.

The local legislature of Hunan Province passed a resolution on the prevention of family violence in March this year which has been hailed as China's first legislation against family violence.


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