BEIJING (AFP) – China has drafted its first national law against domestic violence, a move hailed by activists as a step forward in a country where abuse has long been sidelined as a private matter.
The new law, published Tuesday, formally defines domestic violence for the first time and also streamlines the process for obtaining restraining orders – measures that anti-domestic abuse groups have advocated for years.
“Over the years, we’ve many times felt powerless ourselves to help victims,” said Hou Zhiming, a veteran women’s rights advocate who heads the Maple Women’s Psychological Counselling Centre in Beijing.
“If this law is actually enacted – because the issuing of a draft means it will now enter the law-making process – we will be very pleased,” said Hou, whose centre is one of China’s longest-running anti-domestic violence organisations.
“At the very least, there’s finally movement on this law,” she said.