Political advisers seek Shanghai legislation on school bullying

Ke Jiayun
Political advisers call for a legislation on school bullying at the Shanghai Two Sessions, calling it a big problem that threatens both the mental and physical health of students.
Ke Jiayun

Local political advisers called for a legislation on school bullying at the Shanghai Two Sessions on Thursday, calling it a big problem that threatens both the mental and physical health of students.

The joint proposal was brought by the city's Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference member Zhao Yun as well as nine other CPPCC members, with two Xuhui District Jiusan Society members Wu Chunpeng and Yu Feng contributing to it.

Wu told Shanghai Daily that they began focusing on the problem amid increasing incidents of school bullying, including last year, when a local female child actor who was said to have suffered school bullying tried to commit suicide by jumping from a building.

"A report released by UNESCO covering investigations in 144 countries showed that one of every three students in the world has suffered school bullying," Wu noted.

Between 2019 and 2020, the Central China Normal University surveyed more than 10,000 students at more than 130 primary and secondary schools in six provinces of central and western China.

The research team found the rate of occurrence of school bullying exceeded 30 percent.

After the new semester began in September last year, the search for the term "school bullying" on search engine Baidu increased by 80 percent.

And Shanghai is no exception. A previous survey conducted by suburban Jinshan District showed that more than 40 percent students had experienced some kind of school bullying in the past month. Some 30 percent suffered oral bullying with another 24 percent subject to emotional bullying and 15 percent physical bullying.

School bullying can have a serious impact on both the bullies and the victims. The former may develop a tendency toward violence while the mental and physical harm to the latter may last for a long time.

Wu and his team consulted many pediatricians, who confirmed the harmful effects of bullying.

According to the proposal, some cities in China have issued regulations on this problem, such as a guideline on school bullying released by Tianjin City in 2018.

However, Shanghai only has a few vague articles about school bullying in its regulations on the protection of minors.

"We hope Shanghai can set up an effective and feasible anti-school bullying mechanism," Wu emphasized.

So the political advisers urged the city's legislative body to draft a law to control and protect against school bullying, which should cover all relevant government departments.

Education about school bullying should be imparted in schools and society, in general, to allow students to better protect themselves while teachers and parents can learn more about its harm.

Third-party institutions to investigate such cases and city-level reporting platforms as well as hotlines should be set up.

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