Bullying and response in China

In the USA,

a. Some laws have been passed against school bullying, mostly calling on schools to report it.

b. There are a handful of prosecutors now pursuing bullies whose prey commit suicide, including a prominent case at Boston College last week.

c. An unrelated effort, however, broadly called “Restorative Justice,” has led to a lenient approach to all sorts of school misbehavior, including bullying.

China is also grappling with bullying, both the in-person and the online versions, and the online videos of the in-person version.

From Cao Lin and Li Lei of China Daily:

Top prosecutors have stepped up efforts to bring school bullies to justice. Figures released by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in May show that since last year it approved the detention of 3,407 students involved in campus bullying, and pressed charges against 5,750.

About 17,300 prosecutors have been named deputy principals at primary and secondary schools nationwide to oversee legal affairs on campus, and to deter offences, the procuratorate said.

Top lawmakers focused on the issue when they gathered in Beijing for a bimonthly meeting in October.

In a draft revision of the Minors Protection Law that had been submitted to the top legislature for first review, lawmakers defined school bullying as single or repeated incidents, along with humiliation on and off campus that led to physical, financial or psychological losses. The definition also applies to such incidents taking place online.

The lawmakers also sought to make it compulsory for school authorities to hold lectures and consultations aimed at preventing bullying, and for traumatised students to recover.

Under the draft, schools must notify guardians in such cases, and punish or educate offenders in co-operation with the authorities.

The draft also prohibits threats, insults and attacks on minors in written, visual or audio form, and empowers parents and guardians to demand that internet service providers remove indecent content.

At the meeting, Li Fei, a member of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, noted a link between school violence and misleading online games. He said the problem was becoming increasingly hard to ignore, as portable devices made such games easily accessible.

Many bullies imitate acts in these games, with corresponding consequences, he said. “It is sheer imitation.”

Liu Xiya, a deputy to the National People’s Congress, suggested that parents and guardians be held accountable if their children are involved in bullying.

“We’ve seen many cases in which parents of school bullies have attempted to shirk their responsibility,” she said.