Conceptions of physical child abuse in China : listening to children and their parents on parental child battering in Beijing

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Conceptions of physical child abuse in China : listening to children and their parents on parental child battering in Beijing

 

Author: Qiao, Dongping
Title: Conceptions of physical child abuse in China : listening to children and their parents on parental child battering in Beijing
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2008
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations.
Child abuse -- China.
Parent and child -- China.
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: x, 390 leaves ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2239561
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/657
Abstract: Child abuse is an internationally concerned social problem as well as the focus of child welfare in the West. In mainland China, however, it has received little attention from the academics. There have been very few efforts on examining the applicability of the Western concept of "child abuse" to the context of China. The understanding and definition of child abuse in the socio-cultural context of China, therefore, has remained a blank spot. Being an explorative study, this study attempts to fill in such a void, which is based on the experiences of the one-child families in urban Beijing. Using the qualitative methods, the author conducted two rounds of in-depth interviews with 20 parent-child pairs and three focus group discussions with another 20 children in 2004 and 2005. The study explores, from a socio-cultural perspective, how Chinese children and their parents understand physical child abuse by focusing on parental child battering, and tries to make sense of the similarities and differences in the views of children and their parents/adults in the socio-cultural context of China. This study uses an analytical framework of parent-child relationship in the context of Chinese culture, starting with the analysis of affection and power relations between parents and child, and tries to understand the views of children and parents in Beijing on parental child battering and child abuse. The study finds that the informants' understanding of child abuse differs markedly from the definitions of child abuse in Europe and America. They tend to regard as child abuse only those violent acts which have obviously malicious intentions, are unreasonable, occur very frequently and cause serious harm on the child either physically or/and psychologically. They generally do not regard child battering by "biological parents" as child abuse. This manifests their "affectional construction" of child abuse and the Chinese cultural characteristics of "family-centeredness" and "relation-orientation". The finding that children's views are more similar than different from their parents reflects both a strong cultural identification and an internalization of parents' values by their children. On the other hand, the different views of children from their parents in the understanding of child abuse manifest an increase in the children's awareness of their rights and the influence of globalization. The understanding and definition of child abuse is the basis for intervention in the child abuse problem. Therefore, it affects the protection of children's rights. It is hoped that the findings of this study can contribute to mutual understanding and dialogue between China and the West on the issues of child abuse and child protection. Although the Western concept of "child abuse" may not be completely relevant to China, its implications on protecting children should not be ignored, and violations of children's rights to a violence-free life in the family should be taken seriously. In this regard, children's attitudes and views on these issues should be given due attention. Finally, based on the principle of "the best interests of the children", this study also discusses the implications of the findings on the protection of children's rights on the ideological, policy and social work intervention levels, and advocates that parents/adults respect children's rights and dignity as a person and stop all forms of violence against the children.

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