Parents of children who commit crimes are to undergo compulsory parenting education in Chengdu, capital of southwestern Sichuan province, local media outlet Western China City Daily reported Sunday.
According to an official from the Chengdu People’s Procuratorate, the city’s public prosecutor, parents who repeatedly refuse to attend the mandatory course will be given a warning or detained for up to five days. Similar policies have been tested in several districts in the provincial capital and will now be enforced citywide.
Data revealed at a government seminar on compulsory parenting education on Saturday showed that since 2014, nearly half of Chengdu’s juvenile delinquents were not regularly under their parents’ supervision. Almost 80 percent of them had been improperly raised, said the report, by parents who indulged, spoiled, scolded, or beat them.
Compulsory education for parents is a key initiative in the “national guardian intervention practice,” Yang Chunxi, Chengdu’s deputy chief prosecutor, reportedly said during Saturday’s seminar. “Such parenting education can not only prevent and decrease crimes committed by minors, but also rebuild a healthy family environment for the underage criminals and victims and make their return to society smoother.”
In 2016, Chengdu prosecutors became the first in China to explore using compulsive parenting courses for the guardians of juvenile delinquents. Since last year, 176 parents of underage criminals have attended the courses, as well as 11 parents of underage victims.
There is currently no specific national legislation on forced parenting education in China, Zhang Hongwei, a professor specializing in juvenile and family law at Jinan University in eastern China’s Shandong province, told Sixth Tone. He suggested both local and national legislation be introduced.
One organization that is partnering with the procuratorate for this project is the Chengdu-based nonprofit Cloud for Public Good. The organization has so far held classes for 28 parents of juvenile delinquents. “Forcing these parents to take such education is the last line of defense to protect children’s rights,” Fu Yan, Cloud’s secretary-general, told Sixth Tone. “It urges the parents whose children commit crimes caused by their negligence or mistakes to fulfill their duties of guardianship.”
Editor: Kevin Schoenmakers.
(Header image: A mother holds her son’s head at a juvenile detention facility in Zhengzhou, Henan province, March 27, 2017. Wang Xiao/VCG)