Police statement on the molesting father story stirs up media backlash

Society & Culture

The Nanchang railway police has found itself in hot water after not pressing sex assault charges against the father who was caught molesting his five-year-old daughter in public.

The statement released by the police yesterday, which rules that the man is not guilty of child molestation because of his familial relationship to the girl, has prompted a wave of indignation in the media.

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In an opinion piece (in Chinese) published by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, author Fán Fān 樊帆 called the police’s handling of the incident “irresponsible” and “over-simplified.” Citing a recent report by the China Foundation of Culture and Arts for Children (CFCAC), which found out that about 15 percent of all the child abuse cases reported in the media in 2017 occurred at home, Fan stressed that family ties by no means excuse the father’s inappropriate behavior toward the girl. “To be clear, under no circumstances can parents touch their children inappropriately,” Fan wrote. “No one would deem what the father did in the video a normal way of showing his affection for his kid and some sort of comforting.”

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Fan also criticized the police’s language in its statement, saying that people who are worried about the girl’s safety deserve a thoughtful response instead of a brief sentence that reads, “We appreciate internet users’ concerns about public security.”

In addition, echoing the public’s discontent with the investigation results, Fan posed a series of questions to the police, such as on what basis could it be ruled that the father’s act doesn’t constitute molestation and why the girl’s mother and grandmother turned a blind eye to the incident.

The Girls Protection Fund, a charity project operated by the China Social Assistance Foundation and dedicated to promoting sex education and protecting young girls from sexual abuse, also weighed in with a Weibo post (in Chinese). It explained that according to laws, child molestation is defined as inappropriate physical contact between a child and an adult when the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator. When interrogated by the police, it’s very likely that the father denied that he was driven by sexual desire when fondling the girl. “We hope this case will teach him a lesson and serves as a reminder for other parents,” the post stated.