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Measures to better protect juveniles welcome

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2020-06-30 07:26


On Sunday, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, held a second hearing on the draft amendments to the national Juvenile Protection Law.

The draft now has three major changes. Schools are prohibited from organizing extracurricular courses during public holidays. They are prohibited from concealing serious instances of bullying on the campus; they should report these to higher education departments and/or the police. Also, shops located near schools are banned from selling tobacco, liquor or electronic cigarettes.

This is the first time that a draft law prohibits schools from holding extracurricular courses. Countless documents, ranging from local regulation to executive orders to education departments prohibiting extracurricular courses for primary and secondary school students have been introduced in the past but to no effect.

However, now that the national legislature has raised the issue, it might soon become a national law guaranteeing juveniles's rights and reducing the academic burden on them.

It is noteworthy that the draft amendment uses the phrase "schools are prohibited …" from concealing information about bullying on the campus. If the bill is passed, it will be the school's responsibility to prevent bullying on the campus, and also be mandatory for them to report bullying cases to higher education authorities. In the past, schools have tried to sweep cases of bullying under the carpet in order to "maintain a good image".

Prohibiting shops from selling liquor and cigarettes near schools is also a welcome move. In the past, there has been regulation prohibiting shops from selling alcohol or tobacco to juveniles, but in practice it is difficult to collect evidence against those violating the law.

The three draft amendments are all improvements on existing regulations, making the latter stricter and more implementable. More such draft amendments to better protect juveniles are welcome.

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