Who is responsible for the starving girls?

Updated: 2013-06-28 21:05


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Two young girls, one three years old and the other one year old, were found starved to death in their home in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. Both legislative and judicial measures are needed to deprive irresponsible parents of the right to take care of their children, says a comment in Oriental Morning Post. Excerpt:

After two young lives perished, their 22-year-old mother, Miss Le, was found responsible for having left them at home without any care. Currently she is under arrest for suspected murder. More details show that she has taken drugs for years.

Why was the irresponsible mother never deprived of custody of her children? She was found to have left the two children at home for days before, but why did the local government not intervene? She was without income and received some aid from the community months ago, but why did nobody supervise her?

If any single one of the questions above had been answered, the tragedy might have been avoided. But in China it is legal to deprive parents of custody only under extreme conditions. Besides, custody rights are often considered a private matter culturally so public power will try to avoid depriving parents of their children in practice.

Some charity organizations had wanted to raise the two children but they failed because even with help from the police they could not find the mother, whose agreement is necessary for the process. It was a lack of regulations that resulted in this tragedy.

It is time to change this through both legislative and judicial means. The State needs to protect its citizens from all harm, including from their parents. We hope the law can prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future.