Time to Look After Children's Interests

Calls for revising China’s 10-year-old Law on Protection of Minors, long a top legal umbrella for children, are being loudly voiced because the law fails to protect children from organized crime, domestic violence, drugs and trafficking in children.

The concern comes as children’s rights have been becoming more and more the center of hot public debate. The Chinese government has committed itself to putting children’s rights on the top of its working agenda for the next five years.

But Zhang Meiying, a leading expert on the protection of children, told China Daily Thursday that China’s present laws on children simply do not cover the situations where children are suffering abuse and mistreatment

At present, clauses related to crimes and lawsuits involving children are set in different laws in China and there is no comprehensive judicial law specifically dealing with children’s rights.

“The laws are too general and some of the clauses are too vague,” said Zhang. She urged the establishment of a law on the handling of youths in the courts and in trials. She said that special laws have been established in developed countries to deal with crimes that affect children.

Meanwhile, Zhang Liqun, a leading expert on youth crime, said many new problems have popped up which the law did not cover when it was instituted in 1991.

“For example, children are being beaten by their parents in the name of love; some adopted children are raped by their adoptive fathers, while others are being blackmailed by street gangsters. All these issues need to be covered in the new law,” said Zhang Liqun.

China’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress, has received a growing number of motions calling for the updating of current laws.

The proposals urge the legislature to deal with such problems as heavy study burdens on children, street violence and crimes and children’s safety, as well as keeping children away from porn materials, games with sexual overtones and other unhealthy entertainment activities.

China has stepped up legal efforts on children in the last decade. After the promulgation of Law on the Protection of Minors in 1991, a series of laws were established over the following years to make sure children could enjoy such basic rights as education, subsistence, health care, adoption and prevention on youth crimes.

Meanwhile, local regulations in line with the laws are being set up across the nation, while hot lines and organizations are being opened as a public channel where the complaints of children can be heard.

“There is a renewed effort underway to set up a legal network for children, and this will be a major concern of the government over the next five years,” said Xu Shaoshi, deputy secretary-general of the State Council.

But the laws were not pursued vigorously enough, and did not lead to children getting adequate legal protection, experts said.

However, China’s top legislature has undertaken a nation-wide fact-finding tour starting this May to check the implementation of the laws on children, which underscores their determination to crack down on illegal activities that hurt the interests of children.

Cao Zhi, a top legislator of the NPC, said supervision will be further strengthened to make sure all laws passed by the law makers operate effectively.

(China Daily 06/01/2001)

In This Series

Beijing to Greet Children’s Day with Colorful Activities

Shopping Spree for Children’s Day

Children’s Development Program for Coming Decade Issued

Smoking Ban on Juveniles

Future Bright for Children

Listening to the Voices of Children

Plans Safeguard Children's Futures

Guarding Children’s Interests

Working to Prevent Sexual Abuse Against Children



The Situation of Chinese Children

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