Man caught molesting his adopted younger sister, provoking concerns over child abuse
“70 percent of child sex abuse cases in China are committed by acquaintances of the victims. Among all the victims, the youngest one was less than one-year old,” the Minor Protection Law Commission of the Beijing Lawyers Association told a national media.

Recently, a series of photos showing a teenage girl sitting on the lap of an adult man while being groped by him in a public place have gone viral on China’s social media, provoking concerns over high incidence of child molestation. With the news garnering nationwide attention almost immediately, local police identified and arrested the 18-year-old suspect who is found out to be the son of the victim’s adoptive family.

“The family of three members (parents and a young man of around 20 years old) was in the train station waiting room, together with the girl of around 12 or 13 years of age, who looked like a relative, or a neighbour’s kid who travelled with them. There were three seats, and the family took them all, leaving the small girl standing aside. Later, the young man let the girl sit on his lap,” the witness recounted in a telephone interview with a national media.

“With all the people around, the young guy put the under-age on his lap and groped her breast under a jumper skirt. Despite all the stares from people around them, the father-looking man did not stop his son, while the small girl seemed quite calm, with no intention to reject,” said the witness, who later took photos of the scene and gave them to a child rights advocate.

Then, the advocate’s social media post of the photos was forwarded 140,000 times within two days, leading to the young molester’s criminal arrest. China’s police later confirmed the girl, who is less than 14 years old, to be the family’s adopted daughter.

With the news continuing to be debated, Chinese netizens are calling for the media and authorities to investigate into the family and find out if the girl had been sexually abused before. Local civil administration authorities of the family in central China’s Henan province have pledged to find out if the girl’s adoption was legitimate from the very beginning. In China, it is commonly known that families with their own children are not regarded as being eligible to adopt.

Beyond doubt, the news has reignited concerns over the problem of child sex abuse over the past several years. A report on child safety education and cases of sexual abuse of minors revealed that more such crimes are happening in the rural areas of China. Meanwhile, in most cases, the offenders were acquaintances of victims.

“Many assailants are found to be the teachers of victims or neighbors,” according to the report, which is based on the statistics of the Minor Protection Law Commission, criminals also include employers, step-father, foster father, or other family members.

Minor protection law experts also revealed that only a small portion of such cases would be made known to the public because most parents would choose to protect their under-age child and keep their painful memory to themselves.

“At present, it’s difficult to estimate the exact number of child molestation cases in China. More crimes have happened but few have been reported to the police and even fewer are revealed to the public,” said Zhao Hui, a lawyer with the Minor Protection Law Commission.

Over the past few years, child molestation cases have made headlines again and again. In 2016, 433 cases of minors being raped had been reported by the media, based on the data released by the China Foundation of Culture and Art for Children. The Supreme People’s Court revealed between 2013 and 2016, the cases of minors being raped amounted to 10,782.

Wang Dawei, an expert of criminal psychology with the People’s Public Security University of China estimates that among every 7 cases that have happened, only one would finally enter legal procedures.

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