A photo, showing a female kindergarten teacher, with a smile on her face lifting a child by his ears who bursts into tears, has become viral online soon after it was uploaded on October 24, 2012. Yan Yanhong, later found out to be an unlicensed kindergarten teacher, told the journalists that her behavior were “simply for fun” and did not expect it would make such a splash online.
Angry netizens “human flesh searched”Yan’s private information including her home address, cell phone number and other social media accounts. They further dug out 700 photos of kindergarten children on Yan’s blog, many of which arouse more anger among netizens, such as Yan sealing the children’s mouths with tape and tossing the children into trash bins. The Chinese police have taken action and arrested Yan under the charge [zh] of “causing public disturbance”.
The viral pictures just show the tip of an iceberg regarding the situation of child abuse in China. Every month people can find a number of serious child abuse incidents reported in mainstream media, for example a 61-year-old kindergarten security guard in Guangdong Province was just arrested on October 30, for assaulting a two-year-old girl in kindergarten.
On October 15, a female teacher in Shangxi Province was caught repeatedly slapping children in the class because the students failed to calculate 10 plus 1.
Many parents expressed their concern about allowing such teachers to teach their children on their micro-blogs [zh]:
@ＳALＳA shasha All netizens, human flesh search this inhuman woman. If our children are abused like this at school, I’d rather my child doesn’t attend a school like this. This will cast shadows in children’s hearts and traumatize them later. Those who agree please support me. [She received 9,105 supports at time of translation].
Famous actor Tengyuan Liu, who is also a parent, called on the society to be pro-actively and prevent such incidents from happening again:
@Actor Liu Tengyuan if the same incident happened to my daughter, as a father, I would kick those teachers without hesitation. Try to make them feel the fear of our children at the time. I hope that people in all fileds can step up efforts and resist child abuse.
A legion of netizens began a conversation on the reasons behind so many abuse cases.
Child protection law missing
@ 瑟以 教师虐童事件的发生，从微观上来说是教师爱的缺失和幼儿园的监管不力；从宏观上来说，是我国法制的不健全和执法部门的监管不力……
@Se Yi From a micro perspective, what lead to child abuse in the kindergarten are the lack of love and care of teachers and the lack of regulation of the kindergarten, while from a macro perspective, are the imperfections of our law and the lack of regulation of law enforcement.
In fact, there is no existing laws in China that protect children from abuse, that's why the police can only charge Yan with “causing public disturbance”. Apart from legal protection some netizens also pointed to the lack of qualified kindergarten teachers.
@Pundit：Many kindergarten teachers have no formal preparation. In some small counties and cities, due to the low entry qualifications and low salaries, those who do not have any background in education also became kindergarten teachers, which could be viewed as the main cause of the frequent child abuse cases.
According to a local news report [zh], 60% of kindergarten teachers do not have the teacher’s certificate. During recent years, private kindergartens have sprung up while the pace of fostering qualified kindergarten teachers has not kept up. Due to low salary and lack of incentives, kindergartens, especially the private ones, always failed to attract qualified kindergarten teachers for the future generation.
Many netizens admitted that they have been abused when they look back upon their school years.
@Three feet of Sun: It’s merely another tip of the iceberg. I suggest that the parents of kindergarten children and elementary school students ask their children whether they have been abused. I still remember I always encountered personal attacks and was often beaten by a male teacher when I was in elementary school. But I didn't tell my parents. I was little and knew little about the abuse.
According to an online survey conducted by Sina Weibo on child abuse phenomena, 5,043 respondents said that they had experience of being beaten by teachers at school while 1,926 respondents said they did not.