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Elimination of its zombie clauses means law better protects children

China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-06 08:19

A LOCAL HOMELESS PERSONS rescue station in Bengbu, East China's Anhui province, took the parents of an 8-year-old girl from Daoxian county in Central China's Hunan province to court because the parents "lent" the girl to a friend who taught her to steal and placed her under his control. On Saturday, the court ruled that the girl should be taken from the parents. Beijing News comments:

The case has aroused nationwide discussion because it is the first case in which a nonlocal civilian service agency has sued the parents for failing to assume custody rights and won the case.

There are always some parents who fail to shoulder their responsibilities to their children, while some even violate their children's rights. In order to better protect minors, as early as 20 years ago, the law stated that parents guilty of such wrongdoing could be deprived of custody of their children.

However, the law was difficult to apply, and for this reason the relevant clauses are known as "zombie clauses". For example, the law stated that jurisdiction in such cases belonged to the courts in places where the parents have resided for more than a year. As a result, children who were found far away from their homes had to be "transferred" to the civil affairs departments of their hometown governments, and it was up to these departments to sue the parents in the local court.

Such a process was rather time-consuming because it involved too many bureaucratic procedures. Besides, it was not the local government departments that found the clues about the children, so they often refrained from taking the parents to court, and even if they sued, the chance of winning the cases was rather low.

In order to change this, the Supreme People's Court co-issued a document with several other authorities in December 2014, which said that the courts where the children reside or where their rights are found to have been violated have jurisdiction, too.

That change has greatly simplified the judicial procedures of such cases. It is also that change that made it possible for the rescue station in Bengbu to win the case.

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