China's child sexual abuse in numbers
Updated 22:27, 05-Jul-2019
By Tao Yuan
VCG Photo

VCG Photo

The issue of child sex abuse is under the spotlight in China.

On Wednesday, Shanghai police said they had detained Wang Zhenhua, chairman of the billion-dollar real estate company Seazen Holdings, on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl.

The high-profile scandal is only one of thousands of reported cases of child sex abuse in China.

Between 2015 and 2018, Chinese courts heard 11,519 cases involving allegations of child molestation, according to the Supreme People's Court.

"These cases by no means represent the real number," says Sun Xuemei, head of Girls' Protection, an NGO dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse. "Very few cases make it to court due to the stigma attached to it."

In each of the past six years, Girls' Protection has compiled a report based on the cases of child sex abuse exposed by the media. "The numbers are just the tip of the iceberg," says Sun. "But they reveal a pattern."

The numbers clearly show more than 90 percent of children who have been sexually abused are girls, with children aged between 12 and 14 making up the majority of the victims.

"This shows children don’t know how to protect themselves from sexual predators even as they grow older," said Sun, "which means education in this regard still needs to improve."

Sun said she hopes for a transparent result in Wang’s case. "This particular case drew wide attention because of the perpetrator’s money and status," she added. "But I hope money and status won't let him buy anything less than what he deserves."