Criminalize parental negligence

On Monday, the 8-year-old twin girls who had travelled from Beijing with their mother were found drowned at a beach in Qingdao, Shandong Province.

On Monday, the 8-year-old twin girls who had travelled from Beijing with their mother were found drowned at a beach in Qingdao, Shandong Province, the Beijing News reported.

The beach the girls were playing at has not yet been opened to travelers, and there are signs along the beach saying “No Swimming.”

The girls’ mother recalled she was checking her cellphone while keeping an eye on the girls who were digging in the sand, but when she looked around “shortly” after updating her WeChat moments, she found the daughters were gone.

Many netizens blame the beach’s powerful tidal currents, while others blame the mother’s lack of safety awareness and her obsession with her mobile phone.

Every summer, we heard of tragedies involving children due to reckless parents: toddlers that died of suffocation and heat stroke after being locked up in cars by careless parents, home-alone children falling out of a window, or children drowned in unchartered waters, to name but a few.

If any of these tragedies does not result from their parents’ negligence, those responsible (for instance, teachers or school bus drivers) would likely face criminal charges. However, we rarely see parents on the docks for their negligence.

According to a report published on Chinacourt.org, some legal experts propose that neglecting one’s children should be a criminal offence.

Such laws are already in place in some countries.

In the US, for example, failure to meet the physical, emotional, and educational needs of a child and to provide proper supervision is considered a kind of abuse.

Two years ago, two toddlers in Washington DC were found unattended in a parked, unairconditioned vehicle on a freezing day. Even though the children were discovered unharmed after some time, the parents were arrested for attempted child abuse.

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