Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, has issued regulations to protect minors from on-campus sexual harassment and govern law enforcement of such cases, marking China’s first establishment of a legal mechanism to crack down on sexual assault in schools, Hangzhou Daily reports (in Chinese).
On August 6, the People’s Procuratorate of Xihu District in Hangzhou and the local bureau of education jointly released a document outlining 17 rules regarding how to construct an effective system to eliminate on-campus sexual harassment involving minors (defined as those under the age of 18).
According to the document, teachers are forbidden from engaging in “intimate sex-related relationships” with students, which includes sexual harassment. School staffers and teachers should report cases to school authorities within six hours of receiving a complaint by any student. In addition, schools are required to report cases to the local law enforcement department within 24 hours after school officials are informed. Delayed reporting or private mediation are not allowed.
It’s also stipulated that victims should receive legal assistance, mental health care, and adjustments at school if necessary. Meanwhile, schools should teach students about how to protect themselves through regular lectures on regulations and policies regarding sexual harassment.
On Chinese social media, many internet users applauded the implementation of such policies, suggesting that other cities and provinces in China adopt similar rules. “Hangzhou is miles ahead of other areas on this front. These regulations should be implemented on a national level,” one Weibo user wrote (in Chinese).
Others called for the mechanism to be extended to Chinese college campuses, where the prevalence of sexual harassment came to light this year after a group of female students publicly accused their professors of sexual assault. Inspired by their courage to come forward, earlier this year, current students and alumni from various Chinese colleges wrote letters to their schools asking for a system to curb on-campus sexual harassment.