Abusive teacher was detained, but there’s no law for child abuse out of family

Yan Yanhong, the Chinese kindergarten teacher who lift boy off ground by ears for fun was fired on Oct 25. From the latest news, Yan was detained for provocative and disturbing behavior, but will likely receive no further punishment. She was not accused for the crime of abuse because China does not have a law that deals with child abuse outside of the child’s family.

Yan was born in 1992. She was the teacher of Class 2 at Blue Peacock Kindergarten in Wen Ling, Zhejiang Province. After the first picture of her lifting a 5-year-old boy off ground by ears spreading over the internet, outrageous netizens found more than 700 pictures of child abuse in her Qzone (similar to Myspace). The pictures showing her abusive behaviors for two years were proven true by police.

The spokesperson of the kindergarten said they had never heard of that before. There were reports from parents saying they found suspicious cuts and bruises on their children, but Yan said the children hurt themselves when they were playing. The problem is, the parents couldn’t get an answer from their children, because most of them dared not tell what really happened in the class. In this case, the boy had told his mother that he was bullied by the teacher, but she thought he was lying and trying to avoid school before she saw that picture on the newspaper.

In China’s criminal law, the crime of abuse is applicable among family members. Usually, suspects of child abuse in kindergartens are put under administrative detention for up to 15 days. This means she will not face criminal charges.

Statistics show that 40% of kids in China suffered different kinds of abuse, either physically or mentally. 4.4% of them went through severe, repeated abuse. Half of the boys and one-third of the girls have been physically punished (hit, kicked or spanked, usually by their parents or educators). And one-third of children have been humiliated in public, like being forced to call themselves bad names in front of the class, while no actual law could protect them from this mental abuse yet.

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