China’s New Law Could Punish Parents for Children’s Bad Behavior

By Prakash Gogoi | October 22, 2021
Die-hard anime fan, would watch movies all day long if possible, any genre. The most prized investment ever made in the house is the theater room. If Prakash is not writing, he'll be in there.
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If a kid in China commits a crime, his or her parents may soon face punishment according to newly proposed legislation.
If a kid in China commits a crime, his or her parents may soon face punishment according to newly proposed legislation. (Image: dennies025 via Pixabay)

The Chinese government is considering legislation that will penalize parents for crimes or “very bad behavior” committed by their children. The National People’s Congress Standing Committee is scheduled to review the draft law this week.

According to the draft family education promotion law, guardians of children exhibiting criminal or bad behavior will be reprimanded by authorities. The parents will have to complete family education guidance programs. If kids below the age of 16 commit a legal crime, parents may also be punished by authorities. The law also asks parents to make enough time for their kids to play, exercise, and rest.

The proposed law states that parents are responsible for teaching children what the ruling party considers as essential values, including to “love the [Communist] party, nation, people, and socialism,” “to respect the elderly and care for the young,” and to “be thrifty and frugal.” Parents are obligated to teach children about legal awareness, social responsibility, obeying social mores, ethnic unity, national unification, and more.

“There are many reasons for adolescents to misbehave, and the lack of or inappropriate family education is the major cause,” Zang Tiewei, spokesman of the Legislative Affairs Commission under the National People’s Congress, said in a statement.

A previous version of the bill stated that parents who fail to comply with family education training would potentially have to pay fines of up to a maximum of 1,000 yuan (around 156 dollars) or be detained for five days depending on the severity of the case.

The family education program law also prohibits parents from using violence on children to educate them. In China, corporal punishment has been banned since 1986. However, such harsh measures continue to be in use, especially in some rural regions.

Beijing has increasingly been asserting its policies on Chinese families. The past year has seen quite a number of policy amendments focusing on youth, family, and children. Earlier this year, China relaxed its policy of restricting a couple to only two children. Under the amended rule, couples can now have up to three children. 

Beijing also took on the issues of online gaming addiction and the trend of blindly worshipping online celebrities. Earlier this year, the education ministry cracked down on gaming hours for minors, restricting online gaming to just one hour on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

Chinese state-run media Xinhua called online gaming “spiritual opium” for the youth. The government took measures to restrict online study time to lighten the academic burden on students. The Chinese regime has intensified calls to make men more ”manly” and less “feminine.” In December, the education department issued the “Proposal to Prevent the Feminization of Male Adolescents,” in which it asked schools to promote sports such as soccer to students.