Jiangxi Child Abuse Victims’ Parents in Bid For CompensationComments Off on Jiangxi Child Abuse Victims’ Parents in Bid For Compensation
Originally published byRadio Free Asia on September 25, 2013
The parents of seven schoolgirls abused by a teacher in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi have called for a meeting with the Ministry of Education to discuss compensation.
Speaking on a trip to petition the ministry in Beijing, one of the parents said the families were pursuing compensation claims for the emotional and physical damage inflicted on their daughters by 63-year-old primary school teacher Tao Biaogong over several months beginning last September.
The father of one of the second-graders, who gave only the pseudonym Mu, said the education authorities in the families’ hometown of Ruichang had tried to pressure the parents into signing a compensation agreement worth 50,000 yuan (U.S.$8,200), but that only three parents had signed.
“The agreement required that we wouldn’t pursue an official complaint,” he said. “But we think the school and the education bureau has responsibility here, so that’s why we have come to Beijing with our daughters.”
“We hope to get an official response.”
The parents have all lost their jobs after being absent from their factories in order to fight the case and have been left to pay their own medical bills, local reports said.
The mother of one of victims said the group was waiting for a response from the education ministry, which initially refused to accept their complaint.
“They went to the education ministry, but it refused to accept their case file,” she told RFA’s Cantonese Service.
“They wrote to the ministry, which suggested they take it to the complaints office, so they sent their complaint to the education ministry by post today,” she said this week.
Tao, who was detained on July 5, has confessed to charges of sexually molesting the seven girls, aged eight and nine, at Shangyuan Primary School in Ruichang, local police said at the time.
The mother said the abuse had come to light only after six of the seven girls had developed genital warts, which were discovered during a visit to their parents.
While Tao has admitted sexually touching the girls, he has denied having full intercourse with them, according to official media.
But the parents were told when they took the girls to receive medical attention that the warts were sexually transmitted, the mother said.
The parents, who are migrant workers, have hired a team of six lawyers to help pursue their compensation claims, which they say will allow them to give their children the medical treatment and psychological support they need.
‘Too afraid to say anything’
Mu said some of the girls had been taken to the Ruichang Municipal People’s Hospital in Jiangxi after suffering from intimate bleeding, suggesting that far more than touching had occurred.
“When we asked [our daughter], she wouldn’t say what had happened, because the teacher had told her not to tell her father or grandmother,” Mu said. “She was too afraid to say anything.”
“We didn’t find out until July, when I got a call from another father of one of her classmates after they had taken the child to Hangzhou [to be with them for the summer vacation], and discovered it.”
China’s record in protecting children ‘abysmal’
The children of China’s migrant workers, known as “left-behind children,” have been singled out by experts as particularly vulnerable to abuse as they are often left behind when their parents seek work in other cities, owing to difficulties in arranging adequate child care and schooling in their new place of work.
Rights groups say the ruling Chinese Communist Party has failed to uphold the rights of the country’s children, with many left vulnerable to sexual abuse, child labor, and harm through shoddy goods and medicines and poor safety standards.
The China Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) group issued a report earlier this month hitting out at China’s “abysmal record” in protecting children.
It said those who pursue their children’s rights are frequently the targets of government persecution, citing the case of Tang Hui, sent to labor camp for her campaign for tougher sentences for men who gang-raped her 11-year-old daughter.
In the southern island province of Hainan, parents of schoolgirls raped by a former high-school principal and a local official in May have said that jail terms of 11 and 13 years handed to the rapists in June were far too light.
Chen Zaipeng, former principal of Hainan’s Wanning No. 2 High School, was found to have taken four girls aged 11-14 to a hotel while local official Feng Xiaosong had taken two girls of similar age to another hotel, both on the evening of May 8, official media reported.
Both were convicted of underage rape.
Reported by Hai Nan for RFA’s Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.