'We Want Society to Pay More Attention'

2013-06-28
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Primary school school students in Beijing leave school after classes, March 13, 2012.
AFP

Five Chinese women lawyers have called on the government to make public details of the tragic case of two Nanjing girls, a one-year-old and a three-year-old, who were found starved to death on June 21 in their home in the city's Jiangning district.

Local media reports said at the time that the girls' father had been arrested, their grandparents were dead, and that their mother had a history of drug abuse and long absences from home.

Nanjing police later detained a 22-year-old woman on suspicion of murder after the two toddlers’ decomposing bodies were found in a suburban apartment.

The cases sparked outrage among China's netizens, who have also urged the government to issue stricter guidelines to stop parents abandoning their children at home.

One of the lawyers, Wang Yu, spoke to RFA's Mandarin Service about the lawyers' concerns that the government didn't step in sooner:

"Our aim is to make society pay more attention to whether the relevant government departments are fulfilling their responsibilities. There are departments that should act in such cases, but they are mired in buck-passing and bureaucracy, and they don't do anything at all."

"Article 53 of the Protection of Minors Act Article 53 states that, if parents or other guardians are not fulfilling their guardianship responsibilities, or are encroaching upon the lawful rights and interests of minors, after trying to educate and reform their behavior, the People's Court may, upon application, revoke their eligibility as guardians, and appoint a new guardian."

"China now has more than five hundred thousand children with no one to depend on. The authorities should take more responsibility. This matter is now really serious. The government should take responsibility to change the guardian [in cases like this], or to provide temporary care management, but they aren't doing it."

Reported by Shi Shan for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.