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Education Ministry addresses bullying issue with new guidelines

Reporter: Zhong Shi 丨 CCTV.com

11-27-2016 05:33 BJT

School bullying is a universal problem that has proven to be a difficult issue to tackle. But in China, the growing number of bullying videos online has become so prevalent that education authorities have rolled out new measures to address the issue. CCTV looked into 100 such videos and surveyed over 170 participants, hoping to shed some light into how and why some kids do it. 

A quick search on China’s micro-blogging site Sina Weibo will land you dozens of these videos.

In one incident earlier this year, a middle school student was repeatedly slapped in the face and was seen to be bleeding from his mouth.

"I wanted to send the video to the kid I hit so he wouldn’t disobey me again," a suspect said.

CCTV has analysed 100 such videos online. 80% of them involve slapping the face, followed by kicking. Almost three quarters of the videos also include verbal abuse. 

"When those bullied feel no one’s got their back, they won’t bother telling the school or their parents. One thing we must now do is to have our children feel the power of justice and the law," said Tong Lihua, director of Beijing Youth Legal Support & Studies Center.

In the case we just mentioned, the bully comes from a low income family. He says his mother often hit him.

"We’ve run out of ways to control him. I’ve done everything I can, including using ropes and chains," said a suspect's mother.

Family apparently plays a part in their behavior.

We also surveyed 177 students that are being educated at special schools for bullying-related behavior. On top of the fact that a quarter of them come from divorced families, close to 40% say they’ve never taken the initiative to talk to their parents when they're upset. 

"I’m 14 years old and I don’t think there’s anything happy between me and my parents. My dad wouldn’t even talk to me if he sat right in front of me. I once played at a neighbor’s house. My dad was drunk, dragged me back home and beat me."

When it comes to "why the violence?", nearly two thirds of the surveyed participants say it’s only because of trivial, unhappy daily frictions. Other reasons include revenge and extorting for money. 

As to why they film and post the video online, 92% say it’s for show and so that more people can see. 64% claim they do it for the thrill. 62% say it's to hurt the victim a second time. 

Against this troubling reality, the Ministry of Education has joined a number of other government agencies in rolling out guidelines to curb campus violence and bullying. Measures in the guidelines emphasize the school’s role in possible solutions, asking schools to strengthen education in preventing violence, stipulate punishments and bring in law enforcement in a timely manner in serious cases. 

"The guidelines underline prevention. Those who bully have to know that they’re hurting others. The ones who are bullied need to know they have a right to report," Tong said.

In extreme cases, some bullied students committed suicide when they couldn't see a way out. Others finally worked up the courage to defend themselves, only to be put away as criminals when the belated defense turns out deadly. It’s a lose-lose situation that hopefully will be improved now that parents and schools realize they have to work together and faster.

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