Child Molesting in China's Private High-end Kindergarten Enraged Netizens
A nationwide investigation was launched by Chinese authorities after pupils at the RYB Education New World kindergarten in Beijing were claimed to be “molested [and] found with needle marks on their bodies and given unidentified pills”, reported South China Morning Post.
Public outrage in circulating opinion articles, interviews, and posts on major Chinese social media platforms, such as Weibo and WeChat, gained momentum before the wide online censorship took control. Videos recorded by the parents involved and their toddlers were taken offline. Footage of the center’s surveillance videos were confiscated by the police. According to What’s On Weibo, “these unsophistication expressions and crude emotions were deleted within a second.”
In recent times, incidents of child abuse in schools became disconcertingly frequent over the country. The RYB scandal came after allegations of child abuse at a Shanghai trip day care center earlier this month, where children were being beaten up and forced to swallow wasabi in leaked videos. Similar stories include “a nursery teacher hitting a deaf child” and the extreme case of “Lucy”, a five-year-old child sent home from an out-of-town boarding school malnourished with “necrotic ulcers and infections, contusions, hemorrhages”, igniting fears and anger among new parents over their children’s safety at nurseries in China, reported BBC.
According to Professor Feng Xiaoxia at Beijing Normal University, the “legal grey areas” in which most day care centers have been operating leave children vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, as “the country lacks regulations or industry standards for aspects like teacher qualifications,” reported Caixin Global. Yet, following these allegations were repeated directives issued by censorship authorities to manage online news and commentary on instances of child abuse.
Instructions include “don’t report or comment on matter of the Red Yellow Blue New World Kindergarten in Beijing’s Chaoyang district”, and “do not send any more push notifications concerning the Ctrip daycare mistreatment incident. Related news must be moved to after websites’ third page”, reported China Digital Times. On the same day, the Beijing garrison of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) issued “an unusual statement” denying rumors that a “Tiger Regiment” of its officers “had been regularly sexually molesting children there.”
Cultural response to current events, such as the recently released film Angels Wear White that aims to expose the corruption of police and government officials through their incriminating involvement in a child abuse case, is one of the rarer occasions where social injustice is tackled “without skirting around issues that would fall foul of state censorship”, according to Variety. Others, such as releases from longstanding Chinese rap crew C-Block referencing the RYB incident called “Beat Uncles” and “Tricolor”, were “removed from both Weibo and the NetEase Music streaming service”, reported Radii China. The WeChat page on which these tracks were streaming earlier has also been blocked shortly since publication.
On November 28th, the Chaoyang district Police in Beijing issued a statement declaring that upon investigation, “meetings of experts”, and “test results of allegedly molested girl children by the third party judicial authentication center”, parents had fabricated videos by “feeding their children pills at home” and “made up rumors of Uncle Doctors”, reported Sina News. Official claims of a broken surveillance system and that the camera was turned off due to “large noises made by the equipment” piercingly materialized the story of corruption in the film Angels Wear White, where the government official’s rise above law is at the plight of the molested young girls and their families.