CHINA TOPIX

Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Disagreement Over Definition of 'Domestic Violence' and 'Family Members' Caused Delay in Passing of Domestic Violence Law

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(Photo : gettyimages) The approved law prohibits all kinds of domestic violence and protects both men and women from abuse at home. Authorities say that the law interprets domestic violence as both psychological and physical harm inflicted on someone by any member of the family.

A new law against domestic violence in China was approved on Sunday after seven long days of deliberations by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. Now, it has been revealed that the cause of the delay was reportedly questions over the correct definition on what constitutes a "family member" and "domestic violence."

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The approved law prohibits all kinds of domestic violence and protects both men and women from abuse at home. Authorities say that the law interprets domestic violence as both psychological and physical harm inflicted on someone by any member of the family.

This does not only cover physical abuse but verbal abuse as well. Committee members mostly argued about what constitutes a "family member" and what is the actual definition of "domestic violence."

Guo Linmao, a member of the committee's Legislative Affairs Commission, suggested that the law needs to be expanded because currently family members are defined as either blood relatives, related by adoption or people related by marriage. Living together, under the current law, does not mean people are family members.

While the new law is recognized as a step in the right direction, Liu Bohong, a senior researcher with the Women's Studies Institute of China, thinks that there are lots of things that must be improved. She added that not including sexual violence in the highly debated law is considered a blind spot.

NPC Standing Committee's Deng Xiuxin said the law is a good move but putting it into practice will not be easy. She said that different responsibilities of the departments must be clarified.

Public data shows that almost 25 percent of Chinese women have endured a form of violence in their marriage. According to the All-China Women's Federation, only a small fraction of complaints are made by women each year.

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