China Finally Makes It Illegal To Pummel Your Wife

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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Domestic violence is illegal in China for the first time after the legislature approved a national law that bans physical and psychological harm inflicted by family members.

When the law takes effect in March, people in immediate danger from family members can file for a personal protection order, and their request must be ruled on within a few days, reported The Washington Post. The order could force the perpetrator to move out of the residence.

Some activists are concerned the law does not explicitly protect against sexual assault, and does not cover gay couples. Married partners, cohabitating heterosexual partners, children and the elderly are protected under the law from “physical and psychological violence” and other harm inflicted by family members or foster family members.

“It cites physical and psychological violence, but it does not say clearly whether sexual violence is also violence,” activist Feng Yuan told The Washington Post.

Activists have been pushing for a law against domestic violence for more than a decade, and most of China’s provinces have some kind of law against domestic violence. But the new law is China’s first national anti-domestic violence law.

The idea that familial relationships and conflicts are extremely private was a big obstacle to getting a law on the books.

“Relations between family members are complex,” a member of the Chinese Legislative Affairs Commission told reporters. “It is this complexity that has caused us much delay in promulgating this law.”

Another Chinese legislative official told the China Daily the law could be hard to implement. “We need to clarity the responsibilities of different departments and invest money and human resources, such as social workers,” she said.

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