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SPP issues guideline to protect children

By Yang Wanli | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-02 06:49

The Supreme People's Procuratorate has asked prosecutors nationwide to severely punish those who commit crimes against children in kindergartens.

According to a notice released by the SPP on Friday, priority should be given to crimes against children, including sexual abuse, rape, indecency and intentional injury and murder.

At least three incidents have been reported in November in which children were assaulted or suspected of being abused.

In the most recent case, RYB Education Kindergarten, a well-known chain of preschools, was the focus of a huge public outcry after some parents alleged that their children were pricked with needles and fed unidentified white pills at the kindergarten.

Police said they had detained a teacher suspected of using knitting needles to discipline children in the kindergarten, though they added that some other claims of child abuse were unfounded.

The notice from the SPP also suggested teachers who are facing charges should not be allowed to continue working with children.

At a news conference on Thursday, Vice-Minister of Education Tian Xuejun said that China will push for legislation on preschool education to regulate teacher behavior and standardize the operation of such institutions.

The SPP said that judgments should be based on facts, and in cases that don't meet the legal standard a fair judgment should be made without interference from public opinion, though it emphasized the importance of hearing public voices.

When the allegations and police investigation were announced on Nov 23 they created an online furor in China, generating more than 76 million mentions of "RYB" on WeChat. The issue stimulated public anger on the internet, with many netizens posting fierce words and asking for severe punishments.

Procuratorates will be required to explain the legal rights of child victims, after it was found that some of the children had been asked to describe more than once what they had experienced, and a short video provided by one parent showed the child's face.

The statement said that repeated taking of witness statements, photos or videos will not be allowed, in order to avoid further psychological harm to any children. The support of psychological professionals from NGOs and other public sectors is welcome during the investigation.

The notice also emphasized the importance of protecting the privacy of the victims, and forbid judicial officials and police from wearing uniforms or driving police cars while investigating the cases so as not to draw unwanted attention.

Beijing authorities on Wednesday said three district education officials are being investigated for weak supervision of private kindergartens.

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