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China's top body shows concern for rise in domestic violence cases
Photo courtesy: Wallpaper cave (L) and Unsplash (R)

China's top body shows concern for rise in domestic violence cases

| @indiablooms | 05 Sep 2023, 02:22 pm

China’s top legislative body is extremely concerned about the rise in domestic violence cases in the country even as the Xi government is making all efforts to promote marriages, three child policy and increase population.

Even as data shows that the number of personal injury criminal cases related to domestic violence has continuously decreased in the seven years since the implementation of the Anti-domestic Violence Law, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress expressed its deep concern over the cases of domestic violence in the world’s second largest economy.

The Standing Committee, which looked into all aspects of domestic violence cases involving victims and perpetrators, laid emphasis on strengthening education and rehabilitation aspects for perpetrators of domestic violence, insisting on improving the quality of protective services for victims.

The latest survey data painted a rosy picture of status of women in China as it showed that the proportion of women who have experienced physical and psychological violence from their spouses in marital relationships stood at 8.6 percent in 2021, a decrease of 5.2 percentage points compared to 2010.

Also, Judicial authorities are ordered to strictly use civil or criminal liabilities for those who harm family members, said the report.

The finding of the report has confirmed that domestic violence continues to harm Xi government’s reputation within the society and outside.

However, Huang Xiaowei, deputy head of the National Working Committee on Children and Women of the State Council insisted on increasing the use of shelters for victims of domestic violence, improvement in quality of services and personal protection to victims.

A 2010 survey by the All-China Women's Federation and National Bureau of Statistics found that 24.7% of Chinese women had experienced domestic violence in their lifetime, and among them 5.5 percent suffered serious injuries.

She further suggested that community and village committees should set up information platforms for prevention and resolution of cases of domestic violence. She insisted on imparting legal education to children in kindergartens and schools and people living in rural areas.

A decade later, the latest survey found that 8.6% of women have experienced physical and mental violence from their spouses.

The Anti-Domestic Violence Law came into effect in March 2016. The Supreme People's Court released the Provisions on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in Handling Cases of Personal Safety Protection Orders in July 2022, making it clear that personal safety protection order cases are not dependent on civil litigation procedures such as divorce.

And the provisions lowered the threshold of proof collection and further specified types of behaviour that can be identified as evidence of domestic violence.victims will also be taken to temporary shelters established by civil affairs departments after their applications and receive legal aid provided by justice bureaus, thanks to efforts by authorities over the past few years.

So far, more than 4,700 stations offering legal assistance have been built nationwide, with handling of over 8,900 cases involving abandonment, abuse and domestic cases last year.

Despite the best of efforts, cases of domestic violence have been reported which showed the harsh reality of China. Like other countries, domestic violence in China was still regarded by many as a taboo. Like women in other countries, some victims would initially see violence against women as a part of family life.

But in China, activists had said that the dismantling of civil society in recent years has made awareness-raising campaigns a lot harder.

"Yes, people are angry about what happened in Tangshan and feel sympathetic with the victims of domestic violence, but to fundamentally change the situation, we ought to address the systemic problem in China today,” says Lü Pin, a New York-based feminist activist who left China in 2015 after the arrests of the “feminist five."

In fact, Nine men had been arrested over a vicious attack on a group of women at a restaurant in northern China in June 2022, in a case that prompted outrage over predatory sexual behaviour and violence against women.

CCTV footage of the incident widely circulated online showed a man placing his hand on a woman’s back as she shares a meal with two companions at a barbecue restaurant in the city of Tangshan in Hebei province. The incident sent shockwaves among the netizens in China and elsewhere in the world.

In early 2022, a video clip that showed a woman with a chain and heavy lock around her neck prompted China’s premier, Li Keqiang, to vow to crack down hard on the trafficking of women and children.

In 2021, a Chinese man was sentenced to death for murdering his ex-wife as she live streamed on social media in a case that shocked the nation.

So the question was why was it happening? The reason was that so many men in the past have gone unpunished by the authorities for harassing women. There is a need to crack down on gender based violence in China which is no different from other countries as far as domestic violence against women is concerned.

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