A volunteer social worker gives a lecture on avoiding sexual assault to children in Suichuan county, Jiangxi province. XIAO YUANPAN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Education plays key role in protecting juveniles

A case involving a billionaire founder of a real estate company suspected of molesting a 9-year-old girl at a luxury hotel in Shanghai has sparked public outrage in the media.

Local media identified the man detained by Shanghai police on July 3 as 57-year-old Wang Zhenhua, then chairman of the board of Seazen, a property developer in the city.

Police also detained a woman, a friend of the victim’s mother who is suspected of taking the girl to the hotel.

The alleged offense occurred on June 29, leaving the child with injuries to her genitalia, according to Xinmin Evening News in Shanghai.

The Shanghai People’s Procuratorate gave approval on Wednesday for the two suspects to be arrested. The case has highlighted child molestation in the country, with such incidents being more widespread than many imagined.

The Girls’ Protection Program at the China Foundation of Culture and Arts for Children said 11,500 cases of child molestation were heard and adjudicated by domestic courts from 2015 to November.

Child protection experts said parents, schools and legal and educational authorities agree on the importance of education aimed at helping children protect themselves from sexual assault.

Lectures initiated by schools, legal departments and nongovernmental organizations have been offered to children in many areas, including Beijing and Shanghai as well as Guangdong, Fujian and Hunan provinces.

Based on these efforts and the resources available, experts suggested making such education a compulsory part of the school curriculum to help children and parents remain alert to the potential dangers and avoid risks.