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Beijing protects minors through legislation
( 2003-12-05 22:35) (Xinhua)

The Chinese capital Friday passed a newly revamped regulation which involves special measures to better protect the rights and interests of the minors.

According to the Regulation on Protection of Minors, the Beijing municipal government and concerned departments should take measures to guarantee the rights of migrant children to get compulsory education in Beijing as required by law.

"This is the first time that Beijing has protected migrant children's educational rights through legislation," said Qi Zhiguo, vice director of the Beijing Minors Protection Committee, who participated in the legislation.

Statistics from the China Children's Center show that 9.3 percent of the migrant children in China are dropouts and 46.9 percent of six-year-old children have not been admitted to elementary schools.

Scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2004, the regulation stipulates that Beijing should set up emergency aid institutions to house and support minors suffering abuses or other family problems.

Earlier this year in June, a three-year-old girl, Li Siyi, from Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province, starved to death unknowingly at home when her mother was away in forced abstinence from drugs.

"It reveals the lack of proper institutions to take care of the special group of children," said Qi, adding that this tragedy would not happen again with the emergency aid institutions.

The regulation also shows special care for street children in saying that juvenile vagrants should be aided separately from adult vagrants. China passed regulations on aiding and managing vagrants and beggars, including minors, in urban areas on June 18, 2003.

"However, minors have their own needs different from adults and should be treated separately in shelters offered by the government, " said Qi.

According to the new regulation, the shelters should provide psychological guidance, short-term education and bad behavior correcting courses to vagrant minors under protection.

To better protect minors' safety on the Internet, the regulation forbids Internet cafes to receive young people under the age of 18 and urges institutions with Internet services to keep minors away from information detrimental to their growth.

The regulation also suggested local primary and middle schools offer psychological consultations with professional psychological teachers.

A survey by the China Association of Psychology in 22 provinces and municipalities showed that about 13 percent of juveniles surveyed showed obvious mental or behavioral problems. Meanwhile, about 16 percent of juveniles surveyed have symptoms of anxiety and depression.

"It is the third time the Beijing People's Congress amended the Regulation on Protection of Minors in the past 14 years, a frequency topping the country's list," said Wu Senzhong, a senior official with the Beijing Municipal People's Congress. More than half of the old articles were revamped and some special articles added to follow the society's pace, said Wu.

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