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From the Chinese Press

(China Daily)

13:25, June 13, 2013

News commentaries play a vital role in spurring social progress, but they can also have a negative impact on public opinion if they compromise the basic principle of respecting facts, says an article in China Youth Daily. Excerpts:

If reporting means presenting news, commentaries mean expressing opinions on news. Commentators have to base their contention on facts and avoid supposition. By their very nature, commentaries should follow news, instead of getting ahead of it. Thus opinions should be based on the available facts.

It is dangerous to make premature judgments. Typical examples of premature judgments were the commentaries on the death of a graduate student at Fudan University in Shanghai in April. Since it was suspected that his roommate had poisoned him, speculative commentaries sprung up on the Internet.

Some netizens criticized China's higher education system, saying it was utilitarian in nature and nibbled away at students' soul. Others said there was a need to reflect on the relationship among hostel roommates. Still others correlated the "motive of poisoning" with the suspect's personal character, claiming it might have been an ill effect of the national family planning policy.

It is, therefore, imperative that news commentators refrain from passing premature judgments on events or accidents. So the golden rule for reporters and commentators both should be to respect facts and verify their authenticity.

Fighting the evil of child abuse

Latest data from people's courts and people's procuratorates in Beijing show an increase in the number of child abuse cases, which can be attributed to the lack of sex education for children, says an article on Excerpts:

Data analysis of 340 reported cases of sexual abuse of children in recent years shows that 50 of them took place on school campuses, among which 70 percent of the offenders were teachers or headmasters. This means even stricter security measures on campuses cannot easily identify potential offenders because they are directly involved in the teaching process.

After a public outcry against several recent high-profile child molestation cases, the Supreme People's Court said that zero tolerance would be shown toward people who violated children's rights and interests. It also said that it would instruct courts at all levels to impose harsher punishments on sex offenders against children.

Abuse, physical or sexual, can have a severe impact on children, and the harm can be permanent and irreversible. Thus, preventive measures are more important in the fight against sexual abuse cases and to make children aware of self-protection through sex education.

But curricula in China have been devoid of sex education. Surprisingly, about 93 percent of the parents that responded to a survey conducted by the Chinese media and a Beijing-based NGO recently supported formal sex education in schools.

Sex education for children should also be promoted in a broader sense and needs the combined efforts of schools, parents and society. The good news is that some civil efforts are being made to improve the situation. For instance, a social work center has been established in Guangzhou to tailor a manual for girls under 10. The manual will be handed over to local communities and families this month. Similar efforts are needed to improve children's self-protection awareness and to help them prevent sexual attacks against children.

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