How to Breakthrough ‘Learning Poverty’ in Africa
Key words: learning poverty, educational development, international support, self-governance
China Education News reported on August 21, 2020 that in order to arouse the public’s attention to the reading crisis in the world, especially in Africa, the World Bank proposed the concept of “Learning Poverty”. This refers to the phenomenon that children are incapable of reading and comprehending simple stories by the age of 10. The latest data show that the learning poverty rate in low- and middle-income countries is about 53 percent, while the learning poverty rate in the African region is as high as 87 percent.
‘Learning Poverty’ is related to the quality of education, teaching and the level of national quality in the future. Solving such problem is paramount to attaining sustainable development. For many African countries, combating “learning poverty” is more urgent than eradicating economic poverty. At present, many African countries suffer from high rates of “learning poverty”, which is partly due to the weak educational foundation and partly due to the poor implementation of education indicators for all.
The implementation of Education for All (EFA) has made an important contribution to promoting the expansion of educational opportunities for school-age children in African countries. However, as the number of children receiving education expands, the quality of education fails to keep pace with it, which poses a great challenge to the realization of the vision of education in the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
(1) The implementation of the ideal target is ineffective
As an important part of the Millennium Development Plan, the Education for All Initiative has set out six educational development goals aimed at promoting access to quality basic education for children, youth and adults in all countries, especially in Africa.
However, some studies have pointed out that in the implementation process of education for all in Africa, quality improvement and quantity expansion have not been carried out simultaneously, shortages of teachers and limited coverage of teaching materials have been constantly highlighted, and the good intentions of designers have been exposed as “acclimation” in the implementation process in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the 2015 Global Monitoring Report, the promotion of the six education for all indicators in African countries showed significant differentiation. Among them, the coverage rate of basic education achieved the most significant effect, rising from 47% to 67%, an increase of 20%. Secondary school completion rate and adult literacy rate increased by 16% and 11% respectively. Preschool enrolment, gender equality and primary school retention have all improved by less than 10 per cent.
In addition to the uneven implementation among the six indicators, the progress made on the whole has been mixed with advance and retreat, and some countries have stagnated or even regressed in some respects. In Cameroon, for example, about 70 per cent of children aged 12 to 14 enter secondary school on a part-time basis;
The gender gap in Angola is worsening. In addition, regional averages make differences between countries and African countries make uneven progress in education for all. In 2012, for example, the gender gap index for primary school enrolment in sub-Saharan Africa was 0.94, while 12 countries, including Burundi and Zambia, reached 0.97 or above, nearly realizing gender equality. In Angola, Central Africa, Chad and South Sudan, the proportion of boys and girls enrolled in school was less than 0.8. Countries that achieved gender equality in education increased gender equality across the region. In the process of promoting education for all, most African countries have tried to balance educational equality and quality. However, some African countries are poor and weak, and under certain financial conditions, they have to give priority to guarantee wide accessibility to education over quality issues. As a result, the education for all campaign is more like a campaign for universal enrollment, which lays a hidden danger for the subsequent highlighting of ‘Learning Poverty’.
(ii) Multi-dimensional restriction of basic conditions
To some extent, the “Learning Poverty” problem in African countries is an unavoidable phenomenon in the whirlpool of “step by step, step by step”. The education for all deficit will require quality education in the 2030 Education Vision to pay for it. From the perspective of the quantity and quality of the teaching staff, on the one hand, the student-teacher ratio in many African countries is too high, which makes it difficult for teachers to give sufficient care to each student, the teaching guidance is not in place, and the teaching effect is difficult to guarantee. On the other hand, with the general increase in the enrollment rate of basic education, the number of new teachers must be taken as the basic guarantee, which inevitably creates opportunities for many unqualified or incompetent teachers without training.
Many African countries have made efforts to expand the number of teachers, change employment mechanisms, change teaching methods and implement new education policies. However, the lack of supporting teachers’ personal development and quality control, in turn, affects the quality of education and the sustainable development of education. The teachers recruited to meet the demand do not have high-level quality and responsibility. For example, in Kenya, Uganda and other countries, the teacher absenteeism rate is as high as 25%-30%, which has a negative impact on students’ learning enthusiasm, resulting in poor learning effect, increasing dropout rate, and finally resulting in a waste of educational resources.
From the perspective of textbook supply, the quantity of textbooks in African countries is generally scarce, and it is quite common for many students to share a textbook. South Africa, which has done relatively well, has also been plagued by textbook problems. According to the South African Institute for The Development of Teaching Materials, the quality and effectiveness of teaching materials used by educational institutions in South Africa have been neglected and the extent of their impact on the quality of education has been greatly underestimated. The South African publishing industry receives up to 1.5 billion rand of orders for textbooks from the Ministry of Basic Education every year, but it fails to supply the required textbooks on time. Every year, textbooks are not delivered on time or distributed correctly, sometimes for months before schools open.
Some schools even fail to receive textbooks because the provincial education authorities have not booked them. As an important medium for curriculum teaching, textbooks are the main way for school education to acquire knowledge and skills. If textbooks are not released in time and the quantity is scarce, the quality of basic education and teaching cannot be guaranteed, let alone the effect of reading and learning.
(3) Draw lessons from the path of the pioneers
African countries need not only guidance and assistance from the international community, but also self-governance to “learn from poverty”. Such successful initiatives that look inward could help other African countries better balance the mismatch between improving quality and expanding quantity. Seychelles, an archipelago country located in the Indian Ocean of East Africa, has adopted policies and measures in the process of promoting education for all, which are of certain enlightenment significance to education for all in the whole African continent and even to the realization of education development goals by 2030. According to seychelles’ 2015 national report on Education for All, the country has fully achieved six goals for education for all.
From the point of the country’s national education progress results, although the seychelles face economic development limited, official development assistance and increase lending to commercial challenges, but to achieve the comprehensive development goals, especially in one thousand with the goal of education quality related, the youth literacy rate reached 97%, basic education popularization and gender equality index of primary and secondary schools has been implemented.
At the turn of the century, seychelles attached great importance to improving the quality of education, strengthening teacher education, enhancing curriculum relevance and promoting lifelong learning. Seychelles has localized the six goals of education for all in accordance with its national conditions, and always focuses on quality.
On the contrary, due to differences in cognition and domestic situation, other African countries are more likely to promote education for all on the premise of sacrificing the quality of education, which runs counter to the goal of quality education by 2030, and causes of “learning poverty” continue to accumulate.
Therefore, African countries need to develop quality-centered education programs that meet the needs of local development, so as to minimize the negative impact of the legacy of historical arrears.
In a word, the problem of education accessibility has been solved, and the problem of learning to go to school has become more prominent.
From the perspective of external drive, the breakthrough path needs the attention and help of the international community, but also needs the example of the region to lead, pull forward and push back, internal and external inspection, to form a joint force.
To deal with the internal difficulties, we should first strengthen the training of teachers, strengthen their quality, improve their sense of responsibility, and consolidate the foundation of education and teaching quality.
Secondly, efforts should be made to ensure the supply of teaching materials, attach importance to the construction of teaching materials, select and cultivate the teaching content of national identity based on national conditions, and cultivate students’ feelings of aspiring to the development and construction of the country.
From a strategic perspective, education is a powerful driver for poverty reduction and development. African countries need to realize that “learning poverty” is inseparable from global poverty and governance of “learning poverty” is the core of global poverty governance.
In The Construction of The State: Convergence and Collapse, Andreas Wimmer, a Swiss academic, points out that, on average, a 28% increase in literacy reduces the proportion of excluded people by 30%.
Therefore, “learning poverty” is not only related to reading ability, but also related to social equity and inclusive literacy of the whole people.
On January 1st , 2016, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was officially launched, and 193 member States of the United Nations are working together to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. “Learning poverty” in Africa reflects the backwardness in education. Backwardness in education is a mutual cause and effect of poverty in Africa. The solution to poverty in Africa and the elimination of global poverty are interdependent and inseparable. Poor learning directly reflects the abnormal low status for reading ability. Reading is the channel to acquire knowledge, learning rate affects the quality of education. However, in Africa most countries have only possessed weak economic and education foundation, so it is easy to fall into a vicious cycle of poverty study. Therefore, while learning poverty in Africa depends on African countries’ self-development and self-governance, international support and help are also indispensable.
Writer: Xue Bai
Translator: Lili Feng
Editor: Jiaying Lan
The “Sailing Children” Summer Camp Helps To Build Confidence For Overseas Left-Behind Chinese Children
Key words: Child Psychology, Overseas Chinese Children, Summer Camp
On august 21st, the three-day “Sailing children” summer camp ended at Zhongxin primary school in Jiangyin. This camp was co-hosted by Women’s Federation of Fuhzhou, Fuzhou Institute of Foreign Studies and Practice training base of Fujian Provincial Party Committee education, Assistance Project and organized by The city women’s federation, Little Orange Light social service center of Jiangyin and Fuzhou. The camp aims at improving overseas children’s self-identification and adaption to the society by several psychological practices. During the camp, the volunteers guided 50 overseas children in jiangyin to experience a blinded world and understand the feelings of being a blind person, which could bring awareness to eyesight-protection. Also, there were lectures about school bullying to help the children deal with the problem; plays that facilitate understanding the value of their lives.; classes about law to enhance their awareness and about finance to improve their self-evaluation. Besides, psychology classes about “self-recognition” and games like “super contest” were held to help the children build up self-confidence. There are altogether 116 children without guardian under 18 years old in Jiangyin town. During a long term the town has put a lot of efforts into protect the rights and create a better environment for the overseas children with strong sense of responsibility and social resources.
Although there has been progress in overseas left-behind children’s education, improvement is still needed. We are now facing the problem of lacking long-term helping system and continuous efforts. Perhaps we can establish a foundation about overseas left-behind children to support them. Founding a long-term help system is also the effective way to deepen and strengthen the influence. For education, specialized overseas cultural classes can ensure a better development. Moral classes are also able to promote a healthy growth for these children.
A 17-year-old girl was attacked on the chest by a 52-year-old man, and a male classmate prevented the other party from escaping, causing her to be injured
Key words: protection of minors, courageous behavior, sexual abuse of minors
On June 1, 2020, Li Ai (pseudonym), a 17-year-old girl from Yongzhou, Hunan Province, was attacked on the chest by a 52-year-old man with his elbow in a shopping mall. Hu Lin (pseudonym), a fellow male classmate, was injured while controlling the man who attacked the chest. He was detained by the Yongzhou Lengshuitan District Public Security Bureau on August 21. He is currently in the detention center, and the party concerned understands that the man who attacked the chest may be issued a notice of administrative detention.
On August 24, Li Ai and Hu Lin’s father both said in an interview that Hu Lin’s action was courageous and did not understand why he was detained. Li Ai also revealed that during the inquiry and monitoring, it was found that the man who attacked the chest also attacked another girl on the same day. On the afternoon of the 24th, reporters contacted the police several times before the press release and did not receive a response. According to Ai Li, the family members have submitted the complaint materials to the Procuratorate of Lengshuitan District, Yongzhou City, Hunan Province, “which has been accepted.” Lawyers believe that the boy’s behavior, if proven true , is courageous and should not bear criminal responsibility.
Relevant evidence shown that the 52-year-old man’s actions may constitute indecent assault. If verified, it is a criminal act, while stopping the man’s male classmate should be a courageous act without criminal responsibility. As for the criminals who forcibly molested women in public, the police may investigate the criminal responsibility according to law after investigation. The minors involved in this news were molested, but they were detained for being courageous. It is a key issue of social concern. A serious investigation conducted and justice should be given to the society. Criminals should not get away freely, nor should courageous behavior be apprehended.
http://mengma.jinbw.com.cn/queryNewsStringById.do? Newid=12114393 & flag=1
Writer: Wenwen Zhen
Translator: Xinyue Bai
Editor: Nuoyao Zong
‘Brotherhood’ is the ‘Fuse’ of Adolescent Crime
Key words: Minors, Adolescent crime, Case interpretation
On August 20th, Procuratorial Daily review a case of adolescent crime. Two high school students and one adult Leiwent to KTV and were involved in a fight. Lei punched the stranger. To show their brotherhood, two high school students went up to help and then ran back to school. After learning that the stranger was hospitalized and had already reported the incidence to police, two high school students voluntarily turned themselves in . The prosecutor analyzed the reasons and motivations behind students’ actions: firstly, students were not provided with sufficient family care and family discipline was lacking. Secondly, the two students had a strong sense of the so-called “brotherhood loyalty”. Thirdly, since the two students are still minors, their mental development are not yet mature. Due to the lack of physiological mechanism to resist the temptation of the outside world, the ability to distinguish right from wrong and self-control ability, their criminal behavior is often an instinctive impulse. They have not yet established a complete outlook on life and values. Influenced by the bad social habits, they produce impulsive emotions, and then embark on the road of breaking the law and committing crimes. In this case, the prosecutor learned that the students suffered psychological pressure. He carried out targeted legal education and psychological counseling for these two students, and carried out parenting education for their parents, especially pointing out that brotherhood’s loyalty is the ‘fuse’ involved in crimes in adolescence. Considering such factors as penitence attitude, positive compensation and victim’s understanding, the procuratorial organ made a conditional non-prosecution decision.
From the interpretation of this case, we can see that family education and school compulsory education both play important roles in the physical and mental development of minors and the cultivation of values. After analyzing the family background, school performance and social contact environment of the minors involved, the inspection authorities timely summarized the measures to prevent adolescent crime. It is suggested that the family environment should be optimized through parental education, the supervision and education department should urge schools to pay attention to the quality education, balanced education and comprehensive education of students, punish crimes and purify the social environment. Although in this case, the minors involved were not charged , we should still learn from the case and take effectively actions to prevent the occurrence of adolescent crime.
关键词： 香港暴力 学生 国安法
How can we not allow the glorification of violent speech to harm Hong Kong students again?
Keywords： Hong Kong Violence, Students, National Security Law
Abstract: In the aftermath of the repair controversy, the Chinese University of Hong Kong Student Union has concocted a “Letter to New Students” that glorifies and legitimizes violence in an attempt to “brainwash” the “black violence”. With the enactment of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, the Education Bureau of the HKSAR Government has launched a number of targeted measures to fight for the healthy development of Hong Kong’s next generation of young people, in collaboration with various sectors of the community, for students who have been lured by immature minds.
As the new academic year approaches, many teachers and seniors are sending their best wishes to the new students. However, the Chinese University of Hong Kong Student Union’s “Letter to New Students” is full of mischief and malice.
Obviously, it is a riot, but said to “defend the campus to the death”; obviously violated the law, but the “violence (violence university) people,” the title of complacency … … look over the “letter”, the essence is to glorify violence, justified, can be called a “black violence” of the “brainwashing critique”.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong has paid a very painful price in the “amendment storm”. At one point, the mob forcibly occupied the CUHK campus and set fire to, smashed facilities, threw petrol bombs, and attacked passing vehicles and police officers, turning the university into a “battlefield” and an “arsenal”. After the thugs left, the scene is full of weapons, garbage everywhere, the former birds and flowers in the mountain city of CU as a dead city. According to the university, it will cost more than HK$50 million to restore the campus.
The international reputation of CUHK has also been weakened. Many educators are worried that CUHK’s teaching and research progress will be hampered, that it may lose talent and that its international ranking may fall further. The future of many CUHK students may be affected as a result.
Regrettably, instead of reflecting on the evil consequences of violence, this “letter” glorifies it as a “spirit of resistance”, and even claims that the humanistic spirit of CUHK is to be inherited with a “spirit of resistance”.
It is generally believed in the academic world that the humanistic spirit refers to humanism and respect for human dignity, value, rights and freedom. Using this as a yardstick, violence not only fails to perpetuate the humanistic spirit, but also violently tramples on it.
On Hong Kong’s university campuses, many professors devote themselves to teaching and research, while students study without fear. However, when “black violence” struck, some radicals verbally abused and harassed teachers and students who held different political views, and a large number of teachers and students were forced to evacuate in a hurry.
It should be emphasized that respect for the humanistic spirit should never be an excuse for individuals to harm the public interest with their own selfish desires, and the encouragement of academic freedom should never be freedom to advocate secession and chaos in Hong Kong.
With the enactment of Hong Kong’s National Security Law, its deterrent effect has initially appeared. Anti-Chinese elements in Hong Kong are in disarray, with some claiming to “fade away from politics”, some high-profile “cut seats” in an attempt to “prove their innocence”, and some quietly fleeing the territory to evade legal accountability. However, there are still organizations similar to the Chinese University Students’ Association that do not know how to stop, and continue to extend their black hands to education, trying to use students as “cannon fodder” and “political fuel” again for political personal gain.
Some immature students have been deceived and taken advantage of in the “law revision controversy”. According to the figures up to 30 June this year alone, more than 9,000 people have been arrested in Hong Kong in connection with the “legislative amendment controversy”, and 40.4% of them are students. Therefore, students should learn a lesson from the incident and distinguish between right and wrong to avoid ruining their bright future.
As a matter of fact, the “letter home” from the Student Union of The Chinese University of Hong Kong is only the tip of the iceberg of the chaos in Hong Kong’s education system. Over the years, Hong Kong’s education system has been riddled with flaws. From “poisonous teaching materials” that incite students to hate the Mainland, to “poisonous teachers” who curse the Hong Kong Police Force for “killing the whole family”, to “poisonous teachers” who disseminate distorted history and anti-China and chaotic remarks about Hong Kong. “Poison test questions” … these facts show that Hong Kong should make great efforts to solve the problem of education.
At present, the Education Bureau (EDB) of the SAR Government has introduced a number of targeted measures. For example, the EDB has issued a circular requiring schools to explain to students the background, main contents and significance of the legislation of Hong Kong’s National Security Law in order to raise their awareness of national security and law-abidingness; primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong are required to raise the national flag and sing the national anthem when holding activities to celebrate New Year’s Day (1 January) and National Day (1 October). All sectors of the community believe that the above measures will help to rectify the situation in the education sector.
However, due to the deep-rooted problems, there is still a long way to go to solve the education problems in Hong Kong. In future, Hong Kong should strengthen education on the Basic Law and national conditions for young people, and “zero tolerance” for the dissemination of “Hong Kong independence” and advocacy of “black violence”. All sectors of society that care about Hong Kong’s next generation should also actively participate in the cause of caring for the healthy growth of young people, and work together to cut off the black hand that reaches out to education and students.
This report focuses on the serious social problems in the “Letter to New Students” produced by The Chinese University of Hong Kong Students’ Union after the Hong Kong Repairs controversy, analyzes the consequences of its students’ involvement in violence, and finally, through the impact on students after the enactment of Hong Kong’s National Security Law, unites the power of the relevant government and various sectors of society to stop the “dark forces” from entering students and build a bright future for Hong Kong’s youth.
The World Health Organizatio and the UNICEF Issued Guidelines for Minors to Wear Masks
Key words: Minors，Wearing masks
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) issued guidelines on the wearing of masks by minors on the 21st, suggesting that teenagers over 12 years old should also wear masks where adults are required to wear masks.
These two agencies recommend that young people over 12 years old should wear masks especially when they are unable to maintain a 1-meter social distance or are in high-risk areas of coronavirus transmission.
Guidance suggests that children aged 6 to 11 should wear masks in areas where the coronavirus is widely spread or in special settings, such as schools.
WHO and UNICEF do not recommend wearing masks for children under five years old because they cannot properly remove masks by themselves. If children under 5 years old wear masks, they should be monitored by adults. Parents should pay attention to their children’s feelings about wearing masks.
WHO and UNICEF believe that, regardless of age, children should not be forced to wear masks as long as they have developmental disabilities, physical disabilities or other health conditions that may be affected by mask wearing.
Children should not be required to wear masks when exercising or participating in sport activities because ‘doing so may affect breathing,’ the guidelines said. The guidelines emphasize that attention should be paid to keeping distance from others and limiting the number of children who exercise together.
Children should be particularly tended to and protected in the epidemic. regardless of age group, protective measures should be taken in the right way. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) jointly issued guidelines on how to protect children and adolescents of different ages. It is suggested that children and adolescents wear masks to protect their health and reduce the transmission of the coronavirus among children and adolescents. At the same time, WHO and UNICEF have also taken into account the differences in age groups and health status of children and adolescents. Specific advice are made to children under 5 years old and those whose health conditions are not suitable for wearing masks, these actions reflect care for the health of minors.
关键词：儿童 家暴 法律后果
The Legal Consequences for the Perpetrator following the Law Intervention into Child Domestic Violence Cases
Keywords: Children, Domestic violence, Legal consequences
Abstract: In accordance with the current laws, this article mainly introduces the serious legal responsibilities and consequences that perpetrators of domestic violence will face from civil, administrative and criminal perspectives. Based on relevant real cases, these legal responsibilities are briefly reviewed, aiming to make more people, especially domestic violence perpetrators, better alerted and aware that these legal consequences are not easily bearable.
Domestic violence against children can be seen as the most obvious type of “long-term, concealed and repetitive” cases in violation of children’s rights. In recent years, the government and the whole society increasingly have already deepened their understanding of the dangers of domestic violence to children and have continuously attached more importance to the rights of children’s physical and mental health. As a result, the Civil Code, the Criminal Law, the Anti-Domestic Violence Law of the People’s Republic of China, the Law on the Protection of Minors and related judicial interpretations, local administrative regulations, supporting policies and systems have been continuously improved as well. Meanwhile, a system for the whole society to participate in anti-domestic violence ranging from prevention, suppression, restoration and tracking feedback is being established in China. At the same time, the social consensus of most people is that we should mainly focus on prevention of domestic violence, and forming correct ways of guardians to educate children in order to form a positive guardianship relationship. However, the truth is, a large number of domestic violence cases cannot be stopped in time until public security, the courts and other public structures have to intervene in. In modern society, relevant laws are playing an irreplaceable and extremely important role to protect children in different fields. Therefore, it is necessary to render more people fully aware of the severe legal responsibilities and consequences that may be brought about by domestic violence.
1. Potential Legal Responsibilities for Guardians under Current Laws
Many parents or other guardians are not fully aware of the legal responsibilities to domestic violence and consequences of their actions. In order to promote their legal awareness and make them more vigilant and educated, it is necessary to explain the relevant responsibilities of domestic violence, which are never what parents understand and can afford.
1.1 Civil Liability
It is wildly recognized that the prerequisite for being legal guardians of children is their ability to raise their children and create an favorable growth environment. However, in real life there are always some cases of excessive child abuse. In these serious domestic violence cases, the most common legal consequences faced by the infringing guardian is revoking their guardianship. The deprivation of parental guardianship rights and qualifications is served as an instrument but not the end, and its legal purpose is to warn and punish parents who seriously or potentially infringe the rights of minors. In case of seven circumstances prescribed by Article 36 of the Civil Code or the Law on the Protection of Minors, many legal subjects, including civil affairs departments, can apply to the court for revoking parents’ guardianship, and the court will decide if to replace the designated guardian. Obviously, serious domestic violence in children is a type of case that fully meets the conditions of revocation, thus the relevant courts have basically insisted on making revocation judgments or rulings. Since 2016, there have been such cases of revocation of guardianship in the guidance cases of the Supreme People’s Court. Although relevant regulations require wary and strict application on whether to revoke or not, when facing domestic violence cases that seriously infringe on the legitimate rights and interests of children, the substitute guardian must still be replaced if not being able to fulfill the duty of guardianship,.
For the healthy growth of children and the maintenance of their family relationships after their parents have been disqualified as legal guardians, a system was set by law for applying for restoration. Although parents and other guardians can apply for restoration if they meet legal requirements, the relevant requirements are strict. According to Article 38 of the Civil Code, “Where the ward’s parent or child shows true repentance after being disqualified from guardianship by the people’s court, except one having committed an intentional crime on the ward, the people’s court may, by respecting the ward’s true will and according to the circumstances, reinstate his or her guardianship upon his or her application, and the guardianship between the guardian designated by the people’s court and the ward shall terminate concurrently.”
Article 38 of the “the Opinions on Several Issues concerning the Handling in Accordance with the Law of the Infringement upon the Rights and Interests of Minors by Their Guardians (hereinafter referred to as the‘Opinions’)” stipulates that the infringer whose guardianship is revoked shall not be until at least 3 months from the date when the guardianship is revoked a written application for restoration can be made and relevant evidence should be submitted. The infringer who is disqualified from guardianship may apply in writing to the people’s court for resuming the qualification as the guardian and shall submit relevant evidence within the time period between three months and one year from the date of being disqualified to be the guardian. Although such provision is made for purpose of minimizing the number of revoked guardian qualifications , maintaining family relationships as much as possible, respecting the true thoughts and wishes of minors, and in hope of children returning to their families normally. The court will strictly review the applicant’s performance, appeals and evidence, and consult the true wishes of the children. At the same time, the “Opinions” also makes permanent deprivation of guardianship in the following situations: “Where the applicant falls under any of the following circumstances, a judgment to resume the guardianship qualification of the applicant shall not be rendered in general:(1) sexually assaulting or selling the minor; (2) abusing or abandoning the minor for more than six months or abandoning the minor several times, which results in serious injury or more serious consequence; (3) being subject to the fixed-term imprisonment of five years or more serious criminal penalty due to the act of infringement in guardianship.”
In addition, domestic violence against children also belongs to domestic violence. In addition to general liability for compensation, domestic violence is also one of the legal reasons for divorce proceedings.
1.2 Administrative Responsibility
The Law on the Protection of Minors and the Law on Anti-domestic Violence have clearly stipulated that guardians who commit domestic violence and fail to reach the criminal liability standards shall bear administrative responsibility in accordance with the law, ranging from education and warnings to fines and administrative detention punishments and education measures under 15 days. Particular attention should be paid to the personal safety protection order system under Anti-domestic Violence Law. Article 34 of the law stipulates that if the respondent violates the personal safety protection order and constitutes a crime, he shall be investigated for criminal responsibility according to law; ” Where the breach of a personal safety protection order by a respondent constitutes a crime, the respondent shall be subject to criminal liability in accordance with the law, otherwise a people’s court shall reprimand the respondent and impose on him/her to a fine of up to CNY1,000 and a detention of up to 15 days depending on the seriousness of the case. “
In the past year, local governments in many provinces and cities across the country have also continued to perfect local regulations and systems related to domestic violence and the protection of minors in accordance with the provisions of the Legislative Law. In recent years, as local anti-domestic violence legislation conditions continued to mature, more and more stricter regulations fitting into local conditions have been made. In particular, various provinces have strengthened the main responsibility of relevant units. For example, the Jilin Regulations on Anti-domestic Violence stipulates that ” The units concerned shall not prevaricate or delay the handling of domestic violence cases. Any individual or group has the right to stop domestic violence.” This is in terms of guardians who commit domestic violence. Their behavior is more likely to be held accountable by relevant agencies.
1.3 Criminal Responsibility
The domestic violence that seriously damages the rights and interests of children, may constitute the crime of intentional injury, intentional homicide, maltreatment, abandonment and many other crimes of vicious nature. Although the crime of maltreatment is a crime handled only upon complaint, and child victims seldom report the crime in person in real life, it does not prevent these evil behaviors from being classified as other crimes, especially if the degree of domestic violence reaches such a degree that children are seriously injured or die, the investigative organization will also take the initiative to severely punish the crime.
In fact, it is very easy for children to suffer minor or even more serious injuries. The most common domestic violence is slapping ,for example. If the responsibility is strictly investigated, because of the fact that slapping can easily lead to perforation of the eardrum, that perforation of the eardrum is a minor injury according to the injury evaluation. Such behavior causing minor injury can constitute a crime. In addition, the aforementioned Opinions clearly stipulate that “If a defendant commits domestic violence by cruel means or with serious consequences, or if the defendant commits domestic violence based on despicable motives, or if the defendant commits domestic violence for a long time or multiple times, the defendant may be given a severer punishment as appropriate.” Then the perpetrator of domestic violence shall, within the scope of legal punishment, apply to a heavier punishment or a longer term of imprisonment
When domestic violence happen, the perpetrators of domestic violence often face a combination of at least two types of legal liabilities among criminal, civil or administrative liabilities at the same time. It is believed that as China’s anti-domestic violence legislation become increasingly improved, perpetrators of domestic violence will be subject to more severe legal penalties. Meanwhile, we should also note that, Article 37 of the Civil Code ,which clearly stipulates that ” For parents, children and spouses who bear the upbringing payment, alimony payment or maintenance fee for the ward, their obligation in regard to such payment or fee shall continue after they have been disqualified by a people’s court as guardian.” For the perpetrator, it is obvious that the game is not worth the candle. The law will not deprive the guardian from the legal obligation of the perpetrator. this is obviously not worth the cost , and the law does not remove the person from legal obligations just because one is deprived of guardianship.
2. Adverse effects arising from three types of legal liabilities
On the one hand, with the administrative punishment and criminal penalties, adults commiting violent beahaviour will face much trouble in their career, including job recruitment, promotion, assessment, the professional qualification examination, admission into the party and application for preferential policies, beacause it is required that within a certain period of time they can’t has a record of the administrative punishment or criminal penalties. Therefore, if parents cannot control their own words and behaviour, the consequent adverse impact will remain for a long term and in many aspects.
On the other hand, the punishment for legal guardians may bring about children’s self-accusation, guilt and depression, which may cause a new psychological trauma for children. The kinship cannot be changed and the idea that blood is thicker than water has a profound impact in Chinese culture. The lack of a father or a mother is adverse to the long-term growth of children. For those families with serious problems in the family relationship caused by domestic violence, although the revoked guardianship status can be applied for restoration, the damaged and fractured family relationship is difficult to repair and it is very difficult to restore from the trauma and estrangement in a short time.
Punishment by law for the reason of domestic abuse is to some extent a kind of tragedy, the adverse consequence of which is something nobody wants. Instead, in order to reduce the misfortune caused by such acts，we hope that the above analysis can attract more attention to prevention，education and reflection on these things from parents，especially for those who are committing domestic violence. Something more important than legal protection is the cultivation of parents’ ability to educate their children, the development of their awareness of anti-domestic violence and the enhancement of their recognition of the dangers caused by domestic violence. This is also the motivation of this review. It is also hoped that all kinds of severe legal punishment measures and consequences can serve as a reminder for the perpetrators of domestic violence.
Writer: Juncheng He
Translator: Shirley Duan
撰稿：李琳琳 王金菊 薛智怡
Discussion on The Age of Criminal Responsibility
Key words: Juvenile delinquency, Criminal justice policy, Age of criminal responsibility
1. The Origin of the Issue: The young age trend in crimes
On the afternoon of August 10, 2020, the first instance of civil action was pronounced in the case of a 13-year-old boy in Dalian, whose last name was Cai, killing a 10-year-old girl. His mother and family members are asked to apologize in provincial publications and compensate for more than 1.28 million yuan. The case occurred on October 20, 2019 when the 10-year-old victim was deceived to Cai’s home. Cai was planning to rape the girl. However, after being rejected by the victim, Cai killed her and threw her body into the bushes. At the time of this case, Cai had more than two months to reach the age of legal criminal responsibility. Therefore, the police would not pursue him for criminal responsibility in accordance with the law, and he was kept in custody for three years.
In recent years, the incidence of juvenile delinquency is increasing. In December 2018, a homicide occurred in Sihushan Town, Yuanjiang City, Yiyang, Hunan Province. A 12-year-old teenager named Wu killed his 34-year-old mother. In March 2018, Xiaotong was violently kidnapped for two hours on her way from school in Xiaogan, Hubei Province. She was threatened with being raped, and was stripped naked. At the same time, her body suffered multiple cuts. As a result of the perpetrator being under 14 years old, the local police office refused to file a case for this matter, and the perpetrator did not have to bear criminal responsibility. In May of this year, a girl in a primary school in Lantian County, Shaanxi Province, was assaulted by four boys at school. A notice of not filing a case issued by the Lantian County Public Security Bureau shows that since the four criminal suspects are all under 14 years old, no criminal responsibility will be pursued.
The young age trend in crimes has spawned discussions about lowering the age of criminal responsibility. According to Article 17 of Criminal Law of People’s Republic of China, persons under the age of 14 who commit crimes are not liable for criminal responsibility. Therefore, a person under the age of fourteen will not be subject to criminal penalties, regardless of any act of infringement of legal interests, but will only be taken in by guardians or relevant government departments. In fact, when the “Criminal Law” was revised in 1997, the debate about “whether the age of criminal responsibility should be lowered” had already arisen. In the face of today’s increasingly severe young-age crimes, controversy over this issue is also on the rise. This article intends to discuss the age of criminal responsibility from the perspectives of foreign experience, legislative jurisprudence, and judicial practice.
2. Experience in Foreign Legislation of the Age of Criminal Responsibility
In terms of the age of criminal responsibility, there are great differences among countries. These differences are related to the actual conditions of various countries, including countries’ history, culture, politics, economy, and legal traditions. For example, in countries or regions where the total number of minors under the age of 18 exceeds 10 million, 11 countries set the age of criminal responsibility as 7 years old including India, Pakistan, Singapore, and South Africa. Those countries setting as 8-10 years old include the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Ethiopia, etc. 7 countries including South Korea, France and Poland have set the age as 12 to 13 years old. There are 6 countries setting the age as 14. And 5 countries like Egypt and Algeria have practiced it as over 14 years old. In addition, some countries set different ages of criminal responsibility for men and women, or in practice adopt different ages of criminal responsibility based on different religions and geographic regions.
In common law countries, the age of criminal responsibility is not an absolute standard for judging whether minors should be criminally punished, but is supplemented by “presumption rules”. For example, there are 37 states in the United States that do not stipulate a lower limit of criminal responsibility. In the 37 states, the basic methods of judgment are: (1) Minors under 7 years old are not legally responsible; (2) For 7-12 years old minors, it is presumed that they are not capable of committing crimes. Unless the prosecution can provide proof to the contrary. The United Kingdom also has similar “presumption rules”: (1) Minors under 10 years old are not criminally responsible; (2) For children aged 10-14, they are presumed to be incapable of committing crimes unless there is a contrary evidence.
In conclusion, the age of criminal responsibility varies from country to country, which is determined by the different cultural and social realities of each country. Moreover, the age of criminal responsibility may not provide significant reference by itself. For example, although the minimum age of criminal responsibility in the United Kingdom is relatively low (10 years old), there are “presumption rules” existed that presume that minors under the age of 14 have no capacity of committing crimes.
3. Age of Criminal Responsibility and Crime Rate
If lowering the age of criminal responsibility can effectively curb the young age trend in violent crimes, then it is necessary to reduce the age of criminal responsibility. However, empirical data does not support a causal relationship between the two. In the United States, the age of criminal liability was not adjusted lower, but the rate of juvenile crime has declined. Statistics up to 1998 show that the incidence of teenage homicides is at the lowest point since 1987, a 52% drop from the peak incidence in 1993. Between 1994 and 1998, the incidence of serious violent crimes involving murder, robbery, and rape among 15 to 17-year-old teenagers dropped by 32%, and the incidence of serious violent crimes among those aged 14 or younger dropped by 27% . Therefore, the trend of youth violent crime is not obvious. Statistics for 15 years show that the proportion of teenagers who commit violent crimes in the age group of 10 to 12 among all teenagers arrested for violent crimes has held at about 8% steadily. Although in some cases the teenagers suspected of violent crimes were very young and attracted great attention from the media, this situation is not representative.
Actually, the juvenile crime rate was more related to the completeness of judicial and social intervention system, rather than to the age of criminal liability. The UK have not adjusted its criminal liability age, but statistics shows that in recent years, while the domestic crime rate has been increasing year by year, the juvenile delinquency rate has not changed significantly, and even has a declining trend. Experts point out that this phenomenon is extremely closely related to the reformation of the juvenile trial in the UK since April 2000 and the adoption of reasonable interventions. The principal parts directly initiating and leading this reformation operation are the newly formed Juvenile Judicial Committee, which concentrates in providing counsel and advice to government agencies, and 154 representatives from institutions and police. They worked together to find countermeasures and targeted interventions to control juvenile delinquency, and it has achieved extremely obvious results.
4.The age of criminal responsibility in China
At the Third Session of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China, Pan Ping, vice-president of the Third Middle School in Pingnan town, Pingnan city and a member of the National People’s Congress, proposed to “lower the age of (criminal) punishment responsibility for minors under the age of 14 who violate the penal code”, which provoked stinging discussion in society. This hot discussion not only reflects the social scene of the incredible increasing of juvenile delinquency recently, but also further triggers the discussion of the age of criminal responsibility. From a legislative perspective, the current age of criminal responsibility (14 years old), as a combination of academic and practice, has undoubted practical value and academical basis. The specific reasons can be summarized as the following three points:
- Lowering the age of criminal responsibility violates our legislative ideas and the principle of protection of minors. The regulation of the age of criminal responsibility needs to consider not only the subjective aspects of the minors, including insight etc., but also the fundamental principles of protecting minors. Modifying the age of criminal responsibility by considering only the capacity for civil conduct will inevitably run counter the true purpose of China criminal capacity regulations and criminal penalty systems. It will also violate China’s legislative principles about protecting minors.
- The causes of juvenile delinquency are complicated, and lowering the age of criminal responsibility might easily lead to the neglect of responsibilities of other aspects. Due to their younger age and weaker ability to judge right from wrong, the behavior of minors is often affected by many factors. According to surveys, the causes of juvenile delinquency are often closely related to improper family education and school education. Minors are in a vital period of physical and psychological development, and flawed family and school education will undoubtedly lead to the lack of positive thinking and character development. Therefore, the problem of juvenile delinquency cannot be analyzed only from the minors themselves, but must be closely integrated with the home, school and even the entire society for comprehensive analysis. If the age of criminal responsibility is lowered blindly, it will not only prevent juvenile delinquents from reintegrating into society, but also ignore other causes of this problem, making the problem of juvenile delinquency cannot be solved at the root.
- Lowering the age of criminal responsibility cannot absolutely achieve the desired result. Generally, minor crimes are not the same as adult crimes. For example, considering of mental fault, their antisocial subjective viciousness is often slight. Some criminals have no intentions at all, minors do wrongful act under the influence of multiple factors. Therefore, if the age of criminal responsibility is lowered only with the current high rate of juvenile delinquency, it will greatly reduce the possibility of juveniles to be gave a second chance to correct their mistakes. Because of this, the core problem of juvenile delinquency cannot be addressed, and it even makes the punishment measures for youth offender, originally maintaining at a balanced point, face an imbalance.
Writer：Linlin Li, Jinju Wang, Zhiyi Xue
Translator：Qi Jin, Jinying Guo
“Global Snapshots on Child Law” is initiated by Zhicheng Public Interest Law. We hope to unite global volunteers who are passionate about the cause of public interests and build the most updated, timely and genuine information sharing platform for child protection worldly.
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最高人民法院 :《关于依法处理监护人侵害未成年人权益行为若干问题的意见》Supreme People’s Court: the Opinions on Several Issues concerning the Handling in Accordance with the Law of the Infringement upon the Rights and Interests of Minors by Their Guardians http://www.mca.gov.cn/article/zwgk/fvfg/shsw/201412/20141200746952.shtml，2020年8月7日. August 7, 2020.
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 中国经济网. “10岁女孩被13岁男孩杀害案”家属：希望凶手到女儿遗体前道歉https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1674787853921353626&wfr=spider&for=pc, 最后访问：2020年8月13日星期四
 山西晚报. 小学女生遭4名男生侵害嫌犯未满14岁未立案律师：监护人应当赔偿https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1668735250925701977&wfr=spider&for=pc，最后访问：2020年8月13日星期四
 中国日报. “校园暴力连年上升 最高检：降低刑责年龄需论证“
 Child Rights International Network: Minimum ages of criminal responsibility in Asia. https://archive.crin.org/en/home/ages/asia.html
 梁栋：《英 国 青 少 年 犯 罪 的 国 家 干 预 措 施 简 介》，载《青少年研究》2003年第3期
 中国经济网. “10岁女孩被13岁男孩杀害案”家属：希望凶手到女儿遗体前道歉https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1674787853921353626&wfr=spider&for=pc, 最后访问：2020年8月13日星期四
 山西晚报. 小学女生遭4名男生侵害嫌犯未满14岁未立案律师：监护人应当赔偿https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1668735250925701977&wfr=spider&for=pc，最后访问：2020年8月13日星期四
 中国日报. “校园暴力连年上升 最高检：降低刑责年龄需论证“
 Child Rights International Network: Minimum ages of criminal responsibility in Asia. https://archive.crin.org/en/home/ages/asia.html
 梁栋：《英 国 青 少 年 犯 罪 的 国 家 干 预 措 施 简 介》，载《青少年研究》2003年第3期。