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Domestic Violence Tackled
Domestic violence is no longer a taboo subject in China and more women are choosing not to suffer harm while society pledges warmer support to those caught in violence.

"China has scored remarkable achievements in its fight against domestic violence in the past years," said Zhang Hongman, an official with the Beijing Office of the United Nations (UN) Development Fund for Women.

"But the most outstanding gains have been made by a successful literacy campaign, enlightening many Chinese people of the fact that domestic violence does not have to be hush-hush and should be publicly condemned and punished."

She said exposing domestic violence is the first step towards effectively fighting it because only from there can all-out efforts be made to try and protect victims.

Yesterday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the UN published a report urging governments to take action to reduce domestic violence.

According to the UN World Health Organization report, "nearly half the women who die due to homicide are killed by their current or former husbands or boyfriends."

No official large-scale activities were held in China yesterday, but Liu Yana, an official with the All-China Women's Federation, said an ongoing fight against domestic violence has been carried out actively throughout the country.

Increased publicity in conjunction with a hit television show called "Don't Talk to Strangers," eye-catching roadside and subway advertisements and broadcast and print reports criticizing the scourge of domestic violence are reaching across China.

Special refuges and community support networks for victims of domestic violence are also emerging, helping more women face the dark side of their life.

Liu said the federation is shifting its priority from raising the awareness of domestic violence to actively seeking the establishment of more legal guarantees, such as a national law on domestic violence.

Backed by the federation, the China Law Society recently published a national survey urging the establishment of legislation against domestic violence.

According to the survey, domestic violence has become a significant social problem in China with one-third of the country's 270 million households coping with domestic violence - physically or spiritually - while an average of 100,000 households are torn apart by domestic violence each year.

Liu said she was not able to predict when a national law would be introduced, but that related local laws and regulations will assist the move.

(China Daily November 26, 2002)

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