2020-09-18 10:47:25

In a landmark national policy aimed at protecting children, China has moved to bar people with histories of sex abuse from working in early childhood, primary, or secondary education.

According to a new guideline issued Friday by three central government agencies — the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Public Security — the latter will build a database of sex offenders, including those who rape or molest children.

Meanwhile, kindergartens, primary schools, and middle schools will be required to check applicants for staff positions against the database, and local education bureaus will have to do the same before issuing teaching licenses to new hires.

Friday’s regulation comes a year and a half after the Supreme People’s Procuratorate first announced plans to build such a database.

Shi Weizhong, director of the office of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate that deals with protecting minors, said at Friday’s press conference that the guideline is aimed at curbing child sex abuse in the country, which has seen an uptick in cases in recent years — though it’s unclear whether this is because there are more perpetrators or more law enforcement.

Shi added that last year, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate prosecuted 19,338 people for child sex abuse, including rape and molestation, and said such cases accounted for 30% of all crimes involving minors. This year, a study by Girls’ Protection, a domestic nonprofit, found that around one-third of all child sex abuse happens at schools.

Prior to Friday’s nationwide regulation, some cities had already implemented their own child protection measures. In 2017, a district in Shanghai started banning people with histories of sex abuse from working with minors, and the city announced plans to build its own sex offender database the following year. As of the end of 2019, Shanghai authorities had caught 26 sex offenders after reviewing the profiles of over 270,000 people in the city working with minors.

Editor: David Paulk.

(Header image: People Visual)