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Document promotes rights protection

By CAO YIN | China Daily | Updated: 2022-02-24 09:26
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A university volunteer teacher instructs children in a rural school in Shaoyang, Hunan province, in bamboo weaving skills on July 23, 2021. [Photo/IC]

It is essential to provide more care and stronger protection for women and children in rural areas while promoting village vitalization, as their spiritual demands are as important as their material needs, legal professionals said.

They made the remarks after the No 1 Central Document for 2022, which was released on Tuesday, called for harsh punishment for those who harm the personal rights of children and women in rural regions.

As the first policy statement released by China's central authorities each year, the document is seen as an indicator of policy priorities. Work on agriculture and rural areas has been high on the agenda for 19 consecutive years.

"The call means our authorities are determined to offer better spiritual lives for people in rural areas to fully respect their dignity and effectively protect their rights while continuing to help them narrow the financial gap with people in cities," said Xu Hao, a lawyer from Beijing Jingsh Law Firm.

Highlighting the protection of people's legitimate rights in such a key document is also important because offenses such as rape, domestic violence, human trafficking, abuse of women and abandoning children are more frequently seen in villages, he added.

The civil rights of women and children in the countryside are also facing challenges and even being infringed upon, said Ruan Chuansheng, a law professor at Shanghai Administration Institute.

"For example, some left-behind children's rights to education are not guaranteed, and some village women are refused the chance to work," he said.

Both experts said they were glad to see the central document respond to the issue, indicating that the authorities realize the seriousness of the offenses and plan to advance rural vitalization in all-around aspects.

Xu said all women and children in rural areas need to enhance their legal awareness, as their outdated ideas sometimes made them unaware of how to use laws to protect their rights.

He also called for governments at county and township levels to do more surveys in villages to learn what problems residents have and discover what legal help they need.

Ruan suggested more social associations play supervisory roles in rural areas, providing more care and timely aid for women and children.

To ensure stability and safety in rural regions, the document also called for regular campaigns targeting organized crime and offenses in villages involving prostitution, gambling and drugs.

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