New laws are expected to be passed in China prohibiting teachers from having sex with their students.
In China, the minimum age of sexual consent is only 14, which has been the only legal barrier to relationships between teachers and students up until now.
However, for the first time, a list of unacceptable behaviors that “harm students’ physical and mental health,” such as groping students or making sexually suggestive comments to them, is set to be prohibited by law.
For the time being, the proposed new legislation is being widely publicized in order to gauge public opinion in China. On April 23, the public votes will be counted.
Maggie Yang is the mother of a 15-year-old girl from Shenzhen. She says she supports the ban on teacher-student dating.
“I believe dating is an adult business,” she told the Chinese news outlet Weixin. “How can we stand it when a teacher has a relationship with a minor student?”
She went on to say, “This law should have been made earlier.”
Teachers will be prohibited from displaying or sending pornographic texts, books, magazines, films, photographs, or pictures to students, as well as participating in “inappropriate relationships” under the proposed new laws.
Different people have different ideas of what constitutes a “inappropriate relationship,” according to Xiong Bingqi, director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute.
According to him, several teachers accused of sexual abuse said it was an injustice because the relationship was consensual.
“Normally, instead of being disciplined for an ethics violation, the teacher will be transferred to other schools,” Xiong explained.
While some argue that teachers and students have a human right to date if they so choose, he adds that “they don’t understand that a teacher can use the power that comes with his status to compel or force students to date with him or her.”