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Leading group aims to protect minors

By LI LEI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-04-28 07:13

At study and play, young Chinese, such as this girl at a kindergarten in Yunnan's Zhenxiong county on Nov 11, enjoy facilities that have improved greatly over the decades. [Photo/Xinhua]

The State Council, China's Cabinet, unveiled on Tuesday a high-level leading group to coordinate work related to the protection of minors among various government agencies, as well as judicial and other bodies.

Led by Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan, the cross-departmental group was created to better implement the newly revised Minors Protection Law, said a circular on the website of the State Council.

State Councilor Wang Yong, Zhao Kezhi, another state councilor and minister of public security, and Minister of Civil Affairs Li Jiheng are among the members of the leading panel of the group, headquartered at the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the circular added.

China's legislature passed a revised version of the Minors Protection Law in October, asking the authorities at county level and above to create a mechanism to coordinate and address child-related problems.

The law is set to come into effect on June 1, which lays out six major areas for work on the protection of children-the family, school, civil society, the internet, government and the judiciary.

The organization will help to accelerate the authorities' response to issues facing the country's minors, people aged under 18, and avoid the shifting of responsibility among related bodies, an expert said.

"The group's establishment is in accordance with the law, and lays an institutional foundation to ensure its effective implementation," said Yuan Ningning, a researcher at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing who was involved in the revision of the law.

Leading groups have proved essential in combating rural poverty and handling diplomatic issues by coordinating responses among various departments.

The lack of such a group has left the authorities scrambling in recent decades to cope with issues such as internet game addiction and the negligence facing rural "left-behind children", whose parents are migrant workers in urban areas, he said.

While the issue of left-behind children started to attract public attention as early as 2010, it took five years for the Ministry of Civil Affairs to be designated to address this matter.

Government bodies often fail to respond to public concerns in a timely manner once a new social issue starts to appear, he said.

"That has put the government in a very passive position in terms of dealing with new issues," Yuan said.

Through regular or emergency gatherings involving officials from bodies including the Supreme People's Court, the Ministry of Education, the National Health Commission and the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, the internet watchdog, the new group can respond to child-related problems more quickly, he explained.

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