China requests cameras in schools to prevent bullying

By Minh Nga   June 3, 2024 | 04:41 pm PT
China requests cameras in schools to prevent bullying
A teacher gives a class to children at a preschool in a village of Sichuan Province in 2020. Photo by Reuters
China's Ministry of Education has required primary and middle schools to install surveillance cameras in areas where bullying is likely to take place.

In a notice issued last Friday, the ministry requested the schools to install cameras in places such as corridors, storerooms, and rooftops.

The ministry also released other guidelines aimed at reducing bullying, which has been on the rise in recent years.

They include establishing hotlines for reporting bullying, forming committees to specify what constitutes bullying behavior, and initiating dedicated classes where students and teachers can discuss the issue openly.

Additionally, the notice mandates ongoing anti-bullying training for both parents and educational staff to enhance their ability to recognize and address bullying incidents, China Daily reported.

According to CGTN, the state-run China Global Television Network, the ministry issued its notice following the Supreme People's Court's release of a document a day earlier, which advocated for stringent responses to school bullying.

The document emphasizes that when minors are harmed by bullying or similar actions, the judicial system must thoroughly evaluate aspects like the intensity and duration of the bullying, as well as the physical and psychological damage to the victim, to legally hold the offender accountable.

According to the Supreme People's Court, the number of juvenile delinquency cases has generally been on the rise over the past three years.

From 2021 to 2023, the court concluded 73,178 juvenile crime cases, sentencing 98,426 juvenile offenders, which accounts for 2 to 2.5% of all criminal offenders during the same period.

CGTN said school bullying has become a hot topic of discussion in China "due to its severity and the sometimes-shocking level of profanity."

In Hunan Province, a second grader was slapped in the face and her hair pulled by dozens of classmates. In Shanxi Province, a 10-year-old boy was physically and sexually harassed by two of his roommates. In Fujian Province, a middle school student was forced to eat excrement while being filmed. All three cases took place within the past year.

Some school bullying incidents resulted in death.

In March, a 13-year-old boy in Hebei province, northern China, was murdered and buried by three classmates. That same month, a 14-year-old girl in Fujian province committed suicide by jumping from a building, allegedly due to bullying.

Recently, the parents of a 15-year-old girl in Hunan province shared a video showing their daughter cutting herself to escape violence from her classmates.

The Chinese Anti-Bullying Association, based in Shandong province, supports the Ministry of Education's plan and agrees that cameras will help prevent bullying. Proponents of the initiative argue that bullying tends to occur in secluded areas of schools, and using technology to monitor these areas can help detect such behavior.

In April, the Chinese legislature announced it would apply stricter disciplinary measures against minors who bully.

Serious offenders will be placed in special educational institutions, handled by the police, or prosecuted criminally. According to the Chinese legislature, schools, parents, and educational authorities play a role in preventing school bullying.

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