Protection and assistance for women and children have been enhanced. China has taken judicial action against domestic violence at the grassroots level. It has experimented with an adjudication system of personal security protection against domestic violence, and courts conducting this pilot program have expanded from 5 provinces in 2008 to14 in 2015. In 2015 China promulgated the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, which has played an important role in ensuring the legitimate rights of family members including women, and maintaining equal and harmonious family relations. Amendment IX to the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China represents a major step forward in protecting women and children’s rights and interests; it specifies harsher punishments for the crimes of raping girls under the age of 14 and abducting and trafficking women and children.
To ensure the physical and psychological health of minors and to protect their legitimate rights and interests, China has promulgated the Law on the Protection of Minors and the Law on the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, both amended in 2012. In 2009 the Ministry of Public Security developed the world’s first DNA database for finding abducted children, having helped 5,500 children reunite with their families to date. On the “Tuan Yuan” (Reunion) online platform initiated in 2016, a total of 3,419 items on missing children had been posted by September 2018, which had helped recover 3,367 children. In 2017 China had 663 child adoption and assistance institutions with 103,000 beds, accommodating 59,000 persons. By 2017 some 780,000 rural children left at home by their migrant worker parents had been provided with effective guardianship, 180,000 previously unregistered left-at-home rural children had been registered, and 17,000 had been returned to school.
The mechanism for protecting the rights and interests of the elderly has improved. In 2017 some 240 million Chinese were aged 60 or above, accounting for 17.3 percent of the total population. Since 2012 China has amended the Law on Protecting the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, and released more than 70 policy papers, such as the Decisions on Accelerating the Development of the Old-Age Service Industry and the Program for Developing China’s Old-Age Services and System Building During the 13th Five-Year Plan Period, forming a legal and policy framework for old-age care.
Before reform and opening up China’s elderly were mainly cared for in nursing homes. Now more of them receive home care and community services, but can still choose nursing homes or facilities with medical care services. New models of old-age care such as “mutual support” in rural areas are also expanding. By 2017 China had 155,000 institutions with 7.45 million beds to provide old-age services, including nursing homes, community-based old-age service facilities, and “mutual support” facilities – a stark contrast with just 8,000 nursing homes in 1978. The state has strengthened social assistance and welfare for the elderly, providing subsistence allowances to 17.8 million elderly persons in need and supporting 4.1 million elderly persons in extreme poverty with government funding. By 2017 the allowances for impoverished senior citizens over the specified age had covered all provinces, which had also released preferential policies for the elderly. To enrich the cultural life of the elderly, there are now 49,000 schools for the elderly with more than 7 million students, and 350,000 activity centers.