With China expected to begin review of its first national domestic abuse law in August, various parties, including the public, have begun to weigh in on how the law should handle the perpetrators and victims of domestic violence.
China’s Supreme Court and Procuratorate has recommended that courts should no longer seek the death penalty in cases of domestic violence where men murder their wives in self-defense, Beijing Today reported Thursday.
The court’s recommendation came as a reaction to a similar policy enacted in 2014 that removed capital punishment as a possible sentence in cases where wives had killed their husbands after prolonged abuse.
Allowing only women to be exempt from the death penalty was seen as discriminatory, the story stated.
Should the Supreme Court’s recommendations be passed, assailants both male and female will be charged with “excessive defense” instead of murder.
The sentencing guidelines are also the result of what is seen as a disparity between the punishment of domestic violence perpetrators.
Two examples reported by Women of China illustrate this situation: Dong Shanshan was beaten to death by her husband after less than a year of marriage. He was sentenced to six years and six months in prison. Li Yan killed her husband after years of abuse and several appeals to the police for assistance. She was sentenced to death, which was upheld on appeal, but finally commuted to an as-yet undefined, non-capital sentence by the Supreme Court.
As many as 25 percent of Chinese families experience domestic violence, with 90 percent of the victims being women. Ten percent of all homicides in China are the result of domestic violence, Beijing Today reported.
Victims of domestic abuse in China have been, as in many other cultures past and present, unwilling to report the situation to authorities, either out of shame or fear of further violence.
The guidelines also attempt to tackle the traditionally-held concept that domestic violence is a "private matter that should be kept within the family" by encouraging intensified judicial intervention.
Other portions of the draft law indicate that parents who abandon their baby or cause death by neglect may also be charged with murder.
If you know of any domestic violence incident(s) then report them to the Beijing Women’s Federation: 1680 3838