BEIJING, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- The online photographs of a kindergarten teacher lifting a boy by his ears shows that tougher penalties and tighter supervision must be in place to protect children in China.
Yan Yanhong, a teacher at the Blue Peacock Kindergarten in Wenling city, east China's Zhejiang Province, said she did it "just for fun."
The 20-year-old's photographs, which included a child being placed upside-down in a rubbish bin and another child, whose mouth was sealed with adhesive tape, were also posted on the Internet.
The notorious act of Yan, who has been detained by local police for the charge of causing a disturbance, shocked society so much that experts have been urging that a crime of child abuse should be established in law to help put an end to such cases.
China's constitution and laws on compulsory education and protection of minors consists of relevant items regarding child abuse. But, there are no specific items on child abuse in the criminal law, in which the crime of abuse is applicable among family members.
Therefore, clearer and tougher laws on child abuse must be initiated to deter those who are tempted to abuse children in kindergartens or elsewhere.
Lax supervision is also blamed for such abusive cases. China has faced challenges by the lack of quality kindergartens and qualified teachers as the urban population has expanded rapidly in recent years.
In Wenling alone, the number of children eligible to attend kindergartens stands at 60,000. But public kindergartens can only accommodate one fourth of them, according to Wang Zhengchu, an official in charge of pre-school affairs in the city.
The number of private kindergartens is much higher than that of state-funded ones in many places in China, due to a lack of government funding. Low wages offered by private kindergartens leads to a shortage of qualified staff.
In Zhejiang Province, the majority of unlicensed teachers work in private schools. The kindergarten where the incident occurred was a private one.
In another scandal, earlier this month, a five-year-old kindergarten girl was slapped in the face for more than 10 minutes by her female teacher Li Zhuqing in north China's Shanxi Province. Li, who was detained for 15 days, beat the girl just because she failed to answer a mathematics question. Local authorities identified the kindergarten as an unauthorized one.
Therefore, the supervision on how private kindergartens are managed should be strengthened. In the meantime, unauthorized ones must be closed and replaced with public ones.
Authorities in Zhejiang Province have decided to carry out inspections on teachers' ethics in kindergartens and efforts will be made to train staff without qualifications.
In order to ensure the healthy growth of children, measures like these should be promoted.