Abuse Scandal at Beijing Kindergarten: Who Is There to Protect The Children?

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A recent abuse scandal in a Beijing kindergarten nursery has triggered anger on Chinese social media as internet users blamed the suspected adults for their inhumane acts and the nursery for its avoidance on the matter. Many also criticized the Chinese government as a significant amount of related internet posts have been subjected to censorship.

The scandal first entered the public eye on Thanksgiving and was quickly spread across all Chinese social media platforms. The scandal took place at a prestigious private kindergarten named RYB Xintiandi. According to residents of the neighborhood, the nursery is very well known in the area. According to the New York Times, the company behind this kindergarten, RYB Education, has branches in about 300 Chinese cities and recently went public on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock price plummeted almost 40% after the reveal of the scandal.

In popular internet posts and videos, eight parents had accused adults in RYB Xintiandi of drugging and sexually abusing their children. According to these parents, their children claimed that adults in the kindergarten had injected them with unknown substances, forced them to swallow pills, and stripped naked the misbehaved children. The adults involved were not limited to teachers at the kindergarten. One parent informed the media that naked adult men had performed “health checks” on kids in her child’s class. When asked why they did not report these situations earlier, the children responded that their teachers threatened them by stating, “I’ve got a long, long telescope that can see right into your home, and I’ll know just what you’ve been saying and doing.”

The posts and videos quickly gained millions of views in a short period. Chinese internet users were immediately outraged by this scandal and demanded the Chinese government to bring back justice for these children. According to CNN, many were disappointed at the vague law on child abuse, as 968 cases of child abuse were recorded between 2013 and 2015. RYB Education alone had been reported of two other child abuse cases that involved 17 children. The company apologized in an official statement and promised to cooperate with the police. A teacher and the head of the kindergarten had been fired.

The scandal did gain the Chinese government’s attention, but the public was extremely unsatisfied by the government’s response. Hours after the spread of the videos and posts, many of them were subjected to censorship. Police have also guarded the front gate of the kindergarten. The demand for justice increased, and the Beijing police stated that it would investigate the scandal thoroughly. One teacher had been detained since then.

On November 28, the scandal took a shocking turn as police claimed that two parents had fabricated the stories of children being drugged and sexually abused. In the statement released, doctors had examined several alleged victims and found no evidence of sexual abuse. Police had also claimed that the footage from the surveillance camera did not show any child abuse. The Beijing authority has announced inspections into every kindergarten.

As onlookers, we might never know whether the authority is speaking or denying the truth. However, we do know for sure that there are many more children suffering from abuse scandals all over the world. They might not understand the word “abuse”, but they do know that what is happening to them is not right and they do not like it. These kids are often taught in kindergartens to obey the adults, and they believe that this rule applies even when their teachers are harming them. The voices of children will never be heard unless we change our approaches to early education.

Featured Image: http://time.com/5037556/china-beijing-kindergarten-abuse-scandal/

About the author

Casey Xu is a IV Former at St. Mark's School. She is from Laguna Beach, California but lived in Guangzhou, China for a long period of time. When Casey is in California, she enjoys watching the sunset either at her home or on the beach. She also loves playing with dogs.

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