In a study of 2,363 parents, 43.8% said that they had physically punished a child. One third (32.8%) had done so in the past year. (Chan, K. L. (2010), “Co-occurrence of intimate partner violence and child abuse in Hong Kong Chinese families”, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, (e-publication ahead of print), 1-21, cited in UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (2012), Child Maltreatment: Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences: A Systematic Review of Research, Bangkok: UNICEF)
A study of the relationship between gender and physical punishment in China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Philippines, Sweden, Thailand and the US, which used interviews with around 4,000 mothers, fathers and children aged 7-10, found that in China 48% of girls and 60% of boys had experienced “mild” corporal punishment (spanking, hitting, or slapping with a bare hand; hitting or slapping on the hand, arm, or leg; shaking; or hitting with an object), and 10% of girls and 15% of boys had experienced severe corporal punishment (hitting or slapping the child on the face, head, or ears; beating the child repeatedly with an implement) by someone in their household in the past month. Smaller percentages of parents believed it was necessary to use corporal punishment to bring up their child: for girls, 14% of mothers and 20% of fathers believed it was necessary; for boys, 36% of mothers and 33% of fathers. (Lansford, J. et al. (2010), “Corporal Punishment of Children in Nine Countries as a Function of Child Gender and Parent Gender”, International Journal of Pediatrics)
A survey of over 2,100 primary school children aged 9-12 found that 73% are physically punished by their parents, and this was associated with psychosomatic symptoms such as headache and abdominal pain. (Hesketh, T. et al. (2010), “Stress and psychosomatic symptoms in Chinese school children: cross-sectional survey”, Archives of Disease in Childhood, 95(2), 136-140)
In a survey of more than 100 children aged 6-15 and 126 parents, carried out by the NGO Against Child Abuse, 58% of parents admitted to smacking or caning their children in the previous 12 months. Almost half (47%) of children who had been physically punished said it had hurt them badly and a third thought it had damaged their relationship with their parents. (Reported in Earth Times, 4 May 2010)
A retrospective survey of nearly 1,000 university students in China and England, carried out between 2001 and 2004, looked at their experiences of parental discipline and their attitudes towards it. Of the Chinese students, 60% of boys and 50% of girls reported being hit by their parents as children; beating with a stick, rod or branch was reported by 37% of boys and 36% of girls. Fathers were more likely to be the parent using physical punishment than mothers. Of those who had been physically punished, 42% of boys and 41% of girls said they were punished for being “disobedient”, 33% of boys and 25% of girls for being “naughty”, 25% of boys and 18% of girls for having poor results at school, and 25% of boys and 45% of girls for being “wilful”. (Hester, M. et al (2009), “Girls' and boys' experiences and perceptions of parental discipline and punishment while growing up in China and England”, Child Abuse Review, 18, 401-413)
In a study of 6,592 high school students, 23.2% reported experienced corporal punishment in the past six months. (Leung, P. W. S. et al (2008), “Prevalence and determinants of child maltreatment among high school students in Southern China: A large school based survey”, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 2(27), 1-8, cited in UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (2012), Child Maltreatment: Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences: A Systematic Review of Research, Bangkok: UNICEF)
A study of 810 parents with children of pre-school age found that 33% had used non-contact corporal punishment on their child. (Wang, F. Y. et al (2007), “The Prevalence of Physical Maltreatment by Parents in 810 Kindergarten Children”, Chinese Journal of School Health, 28(11): 987-990 [in Chinese], cited in UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (2012), Child Maltreatment: Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences: A Systematic Review of Research, Bangkok: UNICEF)
In a pilot questionnaire survey in 2004 of 528 students from a college and a technical secondary school in Hebie province, 57.6% of students reported having received corporal punishment on at least one occasion. A similar number (53.4%) reported receiving “non-contact” corporal punishment by teachers when aged below 16 years, including running, standing, kneeling etc; 16.1% reported hitting/kicking/pushing very hard with open hands or another part of the body; 10.2% reported beating with an object; and 0.2% reported being locked in a cupboard or tied with a rope. No significant correlation was found between corporal punishment and residence (rural or non-rural), parental education or number of children in the family. (Jing-qi, C. et al (2006), “A retrospective survey of childhood corporal punishment by school teachers on students”, Chinese Journal of Paediatrics, 44(1), 26-30)
In a study of 1,622 Chinese parents, 57.5% reported using corporal punishment. (Tang, C. S. K. (2006), “Corporal punishment and physical maltreatment against children: A community study on Chinese parents in Hong Kong”, Child Abuse & Neglect, 30, 893-907, cited in UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (2012), Child Maltreatment: Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences: A Systematic Review of Research, Bangkok: UNICEF)
In a survey of 484 secondary school students, 16.7% had experienced non-contact corporal punishment, including being forced to run, stand, kneel down, not eat or suffer cold in the winter) from their mothers before the age of 16 and 14.5% had experienced it from their fathers. Over half (53%) had experienced this from a teacher. (Chen, J. Q. & Liao, W. (2005), “Childhood Non-contact Corporal Punishment Revealed in the Questionnaire Survey of Technical Secondary School Students”, Chinese Mental Health Journal, 19(4): 243-246 [in Chinese], cited in UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (2012), Child Maltreatment: Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences: A Systematic Review of Research, Bangkok: UNICEF)
Committee on the Rights of the Child
“The Committee, while welcoming the State party’s efforts to implement the Committee’s concluding observations of 2005 on the State party’s second periodic report (CRC/C/CHN/CO/2), notes with regret that some of the recommendations contained therein have not been fully addressed.
“The Committee reiterates its recommendations to mainland China and Macau SAR and Hong Kong SAR to take all necessary measures to address all those recommendations that have not been implemented or not sufficiently implemented and urges the State party to: ...
c) explicitly prohibit by law corporal punishment in the family, schools, institutions and all other settings, including penal institutions.”
(4 October 2013, CRC/C/CHN/CO/3-4 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on third/fourth report, paras. 6 and 7)
“The Committee is concerned that in mainland China the existing regulations banning corporal punishment in schools are unevenly implemented. It is also concerned that corporal punishment in the home is not banned and continues to be socially acceptable.
“The Committee is concerned that corporal punishment within the family is not prohibited by law and continues to be practised in the home in the Hong Kong and Macau SARs.
“The Committee urges the State party, in all areas under its jurisdiction:
- to explicitly prohibit by law corporal punishment in the family, schools, institutions and all other settings, including penal institutions;
- to expand public education and awareness-raising campaigns with the involvement of children on alternative non-violent forms of discipline in order to change public attitudes about corporal punishment.”
(24 November 2005, Concluding observations on second report on China (including Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions), CRC/C/CHN/CO/2, paras. 46, 47 and 48)