We seem to be only at the tip of an horrifying iceberg when it comes to uncovering instances of child abuse in China. That these cases are coming to light so quickly and with such accompanying outrage perhaps indicates a sea-change in attitudes to child abuse, hopefully this will lead to stricter protections for children all across China.
In a month where we’ve already seen photos of teachers in Zhejiang grinning ghoulishly as they tortured their students, and another teacher, this time in Guangzhou, beating an autistic 4-year-old into a coma; it is becoming increasingly apparent that child abuse is endemic in schools and kindergartens across China.
A recent SCTV report highlights a Shandong teacher whose favoured method of punishment was to jab his students with a needle. The teacher had reportedly been doing this for three years before a child, terrified to sleep in the dark lest his needle-wielding tormentor appear, told his parents what was happening. As well as the needless cruelty of attacking children with a needle there is also the potential that the needle could spread disease or infection to worry about.
Even more disgustingly, in a Guangzhou kindergarten, a member of staff was able to sexually abuse a 2-year-old girl in the school toilets. Again, this abuse was only discovered after the child revealed it to her parents (due to being in severe pain). Most children who are abused or tormented by those in positions of authority do not inform other adults.
Checks and controls over who can work with children are in dire need of strengthening. It might be hoped that these incidents will spur a full investigation into existing protection measures in schools, but, with the Chinese political system entering its once-in-a-decade transitional period, such drastic action seems unlikely.