China / Hot Issues

Girl's beating death shows need for support, experts say

By Ma Lie ( Updated: 2016-04-19 10:14

The death of an 11-year-old girl after what authorities said was a two-hour beating by her father to "educate" her about responsible behavior, shows the need to educate parents and provide more support for left-behind children, experts say.

The father, a 36-year-old migrant worker surnamed Han, visited his daughter earlier this month in Hanzhong, Shaanxi province, and found that she had stayed out all night. He wanted to discipline her, according to the police.

"He beat her to make clear that what she had done was wrong," said Chen Hanping, deputy police chief at the Hantai branch of the Hanzhong Public Security Bureau last week.

Han turned himself in and confessed, according to a police statement on Thursday. He was subsequently detained. Authorities are awaiting approval for a formal arrest.

The case "is a typical example showing that parents need to communicate and manage their left-behind children," said Du Juan, deputy director of a psychological counseling center in Xi'an, the provincial capital.

"The father wanted to correct her bad habits, but made wrong choices, which caused the tragedy," Du said.

The girl had been living with her stepmother.

Han told the police that after two hours of beating his daughter on April 4, he noticed that she appeared to be dying. So he took her to a hospital, but doctors told him she was dead when she arrived.

The story Han told to the police included basic elements often found in cases of left-behind children. The girl once lived with her father's parents in his hometown in Henan province because he had no time to look after her. When told of behavioral problems, he said he brought her to live with him and his wife, her stepmother, for a time.

"I found that she had some bad habits such as lying and not studying hard, and I took her with me two years ago in order to correct her and better educate her," Han told the police. When that failed, Han sent her to live in another place with the stepmother.

Han's neighbors claimed her father often beat her, the police said. His harsh discipline resulted in some academic improvement, according to one teacher who didn't want to be named.

After the beating death came to light, the Hanzhong education bureau issued a notice urging schools to provide support for children who suffer from family violence.

In 2015, there were more than 61 million left-behind children in rural areas of the country — nearly four in 10.

A survey on left-behind children made by China Youth Research Center in April 2014, showed that some left-behind children suffered mental health problems and that living away from parents for extended periods resulted in emotional indifference, a sense of inferiority, withdrawal and low initiative.

Hot Topics