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Chinese Activist Detained After Protesting String of Child Molestation Cases

A Chinese activist was reportedly beaten and detained by local authorities in Guangxi province of China, a few days after she demonstrated in front of a primary school whose principal allegedly sexually abused six school girls.

Ye Haiyan stood outside the Wanning primary school in Hainan on May 27, 2013 holding a poster that read, ”Principals, spare the school kids, get a hotel room with me instead!” A photo of her demonstration circulated widely on Chinese social media, with many emulating the protest.

Later that week, after returning home in Guangxi from Hainan, local police officers had raided her home and were assaulting her while her daughter was present.

In less than one month, the local media have exposed more than eight cases of sexual abuse [zh] of school children. As far as the media reported, the molesters are school principals, teachers, and security staffs.

Ye Haiyan protested in front of Wanning primary school in Hainon with a banner stating: "Principal, spare the school kids, open a hotel room with me instead!". Image via @Genderinchina from Sina Weibo

Ye Haiyan protested in front of a Wanning primary school in Hainan with a banner stating: “Principal, spare the school kids, get a hotel room with me instead!”. Image via @Genderinchina from Sina Weibo

The reported cases are just the tip of an iceberg, according to research from All-China Women's Federation (ACWF). In the past three years, there were more than 2,506 cases of sexual abuse of girls within Guangdong province [zh] alone. Half of the victims are children under 14 and 65 percent of the molesters are acquaintance of their victim's family.

The revelation of the sexual abuse allegedly by the Wanning primary school principal once again legally labelled the child victims as “underage prostitutes” in line with the country's “underage prostitution law”, which labels the victims so when the suspects can prove that they offered money or gifts to the children in the process.

Even though the Supreme People's Court has vowed to crack down child sexual abuse, without legal reform such as the abolition of that law, the criminals will not be brought to justice as rapists.

But the women organization ACWF, which is run by the Chinese Communist Party, has not reacted with calls for legal reform. Instead, it responded to the evil crime by publishing a handbook [zh] to teach school children how to say no to molesters.

As Children's Day on June 1 approaches, Chinese on social media have directed their anger toward authorities, such as the Ministry of Education and the ACWF, for leaving children unprotected and vulnerable to sexual abuse in China.

Many netizens followed Ye's dark-humored protest example on Sina Weibo. Below is a collage of protest photos put together by @genderinchina [zh]:

A collage of protest photos put together by @genderinchina

A collage of protest photos put together by @genderinchina

Weibo user “Speaking genuinely” (@1句實話) wrote that [zh] the current law is protecting the criminals rather than children:

六一儿童节将至,儿童是祖国的花朵,保护儿童,尤其是幼女是国家的责任。1949建国以后,法律尚不健全。但面对强奸幼女的罪犯,国家一律判处死刑。[…] 自从“嫖宿”一词发明后,禽兽开始肆无忌惮,都是谁在保护禽兽?

Children's Day June 1 is coming up. Children are the flowers of the motherland. It is the country's responsibility to protect our children, in particular our girls. Upon the establishment of People Republic of China in 1949, even though at that time our legal system was incomplete, rapists of children would be given death sentence. […] Since the introduction of the term “prostitution”, the beasts have gotten out of control. Who is protecting all these beasts?

Another microblogger, “Exercise Book” (@作業本), also criticized the law as being ridiculous. His post has been republished [zh] 12,041 times and received 4,494 comments on Weibo:

“对儿童性侵犯”可以说成“带孩子开房”、“骗小学女生开房并强奸”可以说成“带女生开房”,“奸淫幼女”可以定罪为“嫖宿幼女”……这样一个把所有人当弱智的社会,会在6.1这天说:神州大地,晴空万里,彩旗飘飘,气球升空,全国各地千千万万的儿童笑逐颜开,喜迎六一儿童节。

“Child sexual abuse” is referred to as “getting a hotel room with children”, “trick primary school girls into a hotel room to rape them” is referred to as “getting a hotel room with school girls”, “raping an underage girl” is referred to in court as “prostituting an underage girl”… A society that treats everyone as an idiot will proclaim on June 1: Heavenly earth with blue sky, colorful flags with balloons, millions of children around the world are happily celebrating Children's Day on June 1.

Blogger “youyou52011″ wrote [zh] a long post to explain why so many have echoed Ye's action online:

這些來自底層的吶喊,無疑是對相關部門不作為的巨大諷刺,體制各種婦女兒童權益組織一應俱全,結果却只做花瓶與擺設,正是由一官辦組織的不作為,才助長了整個社會對婦女兒童權益的忽略、歧視與戕害!「開房找我」讓所有中國人感到了這種痛楚,正是這種共同的痛楚,讓這一行為藝術被無數網友接力。

A grassroots movement is speaking out against the negligence of the authorities. There are organizations dealing with women and children's rights in the system, but they are just vases and decoration. The negligence of officials and government organizations has resulted in discrimination and violence against women and children. “Get a hotel room with me instead” signifies the pain shared by all Chinese people, that's why so many netizens relay such action art.

「六一」兒童節即將到來,試想如果人們要在接二連三的猥褻女生案中迎接這個節日,這個社會怎麼對得住我們的孩子。校園本應是庇知孩子的天堂,老師在校園裡把魔爪伸向自己的學生?「校長,開房找我,放過小學生!」這是當下「性侵幼女」社會暴力的一種黑色幽默式反抗。當女學生被性侵的丑聞衝擊我們的底綫時,葉海燕喊出的更像是泣血之音。

Children's Day on June 1 is approaching. How can we face our children if such incidents of child sexual abuse keep emerging? The school should be a safe place for our kids, how can teachers do such an evil thing to their own students? “Principal, spare the children, get a hotel room with me instead” is dark-humored resistance to the sexual abuse of underage girls. The scandal of the school girls being sexually abused has challenged our moral baseline, what was stated in Ye Haiyan's banner is written in blood and tears.

一百年前魯迅先生反封建禮制吃人的「救救孩子」吶喊,如今仍振聾發聵:一場斬斷校長伸向女童黑手的呼請接力正在進行。「開房找我」的調侃體現更多的是無奈,是對當下「性侵幼女」社會暴力的一種黑色幽默式反抗,是對教育亂象無聲抗議!

One hundred years ago, Mr. Lu Xun cried out “Save our Children” against feudalism. Such cries are still echoing in our time [through Ye's action], this time people are demanding that principals stop putting their evil hands on underage girls. “Get a hotel room with me instead” is a desperate cry, dark humor against the sexual abuse of underage girls and a protest against the education system.

“Volunteer Ma Qi” [zh] (@志愿者马奇) spelled out a plan of action to help the situation:

1、家长会得到一个说法,罪犯依强奸罪拘捕。2、教育部与妇联应有个回应,该肃整队伍的拿出方案来,妇联必须有个态度。3、废除嫖宿幼女罪。

1. Parents want the criminals to be arrested as rapists. 2. The Ministry of Education and the ACWF should comment on the series of incidents. They should put forward a proposal to improve the situation and ACWF should give a public statement. 3. Abolition of the “underage prostitution” law.

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