Sexual child abuse, especially those left behind by their migrant parents, needs more attention, writes author Zhang Lijia, who wrote a bestseller on prostitution in China in the South China Morning. She applauds actions taken by the Supreme People’s Court of China but sees it only as a start.
Last month, the Supreme People’s Court of China held a press conference following the publication of four so-called typical cases of sexual abuse of children. It vowed to use all means, including the death penalty, to punish child sex offenders. I was also a victim of child sex abuse, one of many girls molested by a teacher at my primary school in Nanjing.
This is a hidden but growing epidemic. News portal Caixin.com reported that some 8-12 per cent of China’s 270 million minors may have experienced sexual assault, including rape for 1 per cent.
“It means that nearly 30 million Chinese children could have been the victims of sexual abuse,” Shang Xiaoyun, director of Beijing Normal University’s Family and Child Research Centre, was quoted as saying.
I believe various factors contribute to the worrying trend. As is the case elsewhere, the internet has become an increasingly treacherous place for young minds. In two of the cases presented by the court, the perpetrators met their victims online; one was promised a starring role in a film.
Left-behind children are particularly vulnerable. In the past four decades, some 300 million people have moved from their villages to seek work in the city, leaving millions of children behind, often without adequate care.
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