Chinese Found Guilty of Abusing Their Children
Sentence To Be Passed Next Month

Parentsí way of disciplining their children violated Canadian law.

They hoped for a temporary suspension of sentence.
The Chinese community is paying close attention to this case.

[Vancouver] A couple named Zhou in Vancouver were found guilty of abusing and confining their daughters. The court decided to announce the sentence on the 24th of next month (January). As this case involved conflicts between the way the Chinese discipline their children and the Canadian judicial concept in meting out penalties, it has drawn close attention of the Chinese community.

This case of abusing children has been on trial for almost three years and the action was brought to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The jury of five males and seven females ruled recently that the accused couple named Zhou were guilty of on six counts, out of nine that had been brought against them, which included: cutting their daughterís hair, cut their daughterís hair by force, confining their daughters, slapping their daughters, tying up their daughters and beating their daughters with a broom.

The accused father, Mr. Zhou, expressed that he was willing to accept the court decision. What he and his wife concerned most at the moment was to see their daughters again. At the same time, they were very much worried that their relationship with their two daughters could never be the same again. He stated that their family got along very well in the past. Because their daughters got involved and started to believe in a "cult", he and his wife had no choice but to strictly discipline them in their own way. They didnít expect that it would cause their family to break up.

As the accused had made a request to the court, the judge approved that the names of the couple, the names and ages of the two daughters in the case could not be made public.

According to the defence counsel of the accused, Kendall from the Legal Aid Department, although the couple named Zhou had to face the reality of the juryís decision, both of them believed that when they disciplined their daughters, their intention was to protect them. They totally couldnít understand why they were convicted because of that.

Kendall pointed out that it was very unfortunate for both parties to have parents and children facing each other in court. Because the couple named Zhou had two more under-aged children, he hoped that the court would give the accused a temporary suspension of the sentence, or allow them to attend family counseling, instead of passing a heavy sentence.

Kendall pointed out outside the court that it was a pity that not enough Chinese persons served as jurors in this case. If there were Chinese jurors in the court, they might be able to express different voices on the values of Chinese and Western cultures and on the educational perspectives. Perhaps that would help to give the accused a comparatively fair ruling.

When the Chinese discipline their under-aged children, they follow the concept that "parents are always right all over the world" and "spare the rod, spoil the child". Because of that, they always choose corporal punishment. They never dreamt that this is in conflict with the stand of protecting children in the judicial system in North America. In the last few years, incidents of Chinese parents getting themselves involved in lawsuits for physically punishing their children had occurred in Canada and the United States. The couple named Zhou in Vancouver disciplined their daughters in an improper manner and have unfortunately become another case of following the same old disastrous road.

This case originally started in at the beginning of 2000. The couple named Zhou found that their two daughters, still teenagers at that time, were obsessed with a mysterious religion. They often stayed out without calling home, or came home very late at night. Therefore, they startede parents began to discipline them strictly. Sometimes, they used excessive force and made the two daughters revolted. They stepped out and accused their parents of abusing them. They asserted that they would not talk with their parents any more. As a result, the act of abusing children by the couple named Zhou was made public, and they violated the law.

At that time, the Ministry of Children and Family Development of British Columbia intervened and took away the two girls immediately, not allowing them to contact their parents. It has been over two years since the incident happened. The couple named Zhou have not met or talked with their daughters.

World Journal, 06 December 2002, Vancouver (orig. Chinese)

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