A teacher in Zhejiang, surnamed Yan, has been arrested after a photo of her smiling while she lifted a screaming child up by his ears was posted to Weibo. Her colleague who is alleged to have taken the photo has also been arrested.
According to a statement by the Wenling Board of Education in Zhejiang province, a full investigation will be launched into the incident to ensure that child abuse is not widespread in the local school system.
Photos of the teacher lifting the child by his ears, and additional photos showing children stuffed into trash cans and with taped mouths and hands, were reposted thousands of times on China’s most popular social media site Sina Weibo, triggering widespread public anger and discussion about corporal punishment in the country’s classrooms.
There is scarce current data on the prevalence of corporal punishment in China’s education system. A 2004 survey of 528 Chinese students found that 58% had received corporal punishment, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund. The survey (pdf) noted that the students reported having been kicked, hit and beaten with objects.
Earlier this month, a teacher in Guangzhou was caught on CCTV throwing an autistic 4-year-old to the ground and beating her into a coma, the girl later died.
The “Law on the Protection of Minors” prohibits corporal punishment in Chinese schools, though the Chinese Ministry of Education proposed in June to strengthen the ban to ensure children’s safety.
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