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China drafts first domestic violence bill

Updated: Mar 4,2015 11:55 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s first bill against domestic violence is likely to be put for the first reading in August, said a spokeswoman with the national legislature on March 4.

“If things go smoothly, we expect the law to take shape after two or three readings,” said Fu Ying, spokeswoman with the third session of the 12th National People’s Congress.

A draft of this law has been published to solicit opinions and draw broad attention, Fu said.

The biggest controversy about the bill is under what conditions the authorities should step in the private affairs of a couple or family, Fu said.

“It is difficult to reach a consensus on where to draw a line since the Chinese society is still relatively conservative,” she said.

However, drafting a law on domestic violence has showed the state’s stance on this issue, which is no tolerance of violence even among family members, she said.

Traditionally, domestic violence is considered a private matter and even a taboo that should be kept within family. Police normally do not respond to victims’ requests for help.

According to the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF), nearly 25 percent of Chinese women have suffered domestic violence in their marriage.

A 2010 survey conducted by the ACWF and the National Bureau of Statistics said 33.5 percent of girls and 52.9 percent of boys polled had received “physical punishments” from their parents in a 12-month period that year.

A report by China Central Television (CCTV) last November cited another survey saying 13.3 percent of Chinese elders suffered from abuse by family.

With increasing public awareness and media reports on a number of high-profile abuse scandals, the public have strongly demanded the legislation on this issue.

The draft, published by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council last November, empowers social organizations and individuals to dissuade, bar and report physical and psychological abuse from within the victims’ family.

It also requires the police to intervene immediately once such reports are filed.