October 25, 2021

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Can you kidnap your son? A father in China can

Mothers with children on the playground.

Parents know that custody disagreements can be painful. In America and many other countries, courts decide who gets custody when parents disagree.

China is now approaching this vision.

Today, there are two priorities in the way China deals with legal custody. First, the father is favored. Second, the parent who has the child is preferred.

This leads fathers to take their children from their mothers’ arms.

For example, men and women struggled with a mother, Wang Jianna, on the ground. Holding her legs and shoulders down, they snatched her 6-month-old baby from her arms. They ran off to run with the baby.

A camera captured everything. But there was little Ms. Wang could do. The person who took the baby was the baby’s father. He was her former partner.

The police refused to intervene. They told Ms. Wang that a parent could not kidnap their child. Then a court entrusted custody of the child to the father. He said the child should be in “a familiar environment”.

That afternoon in January 2017 was the last time Ms. Wang saw her daughter.

China is not big on joint custody. Courts prefer to leave children where they live. Hiding children in a parent’s home will result in custody. This becomes a reason for parents to kidnap children.

In Ms. Wang’s case, the court found the baby’s father guilty of hurting the mother. He paid a fine. She still has the baby.

For decades it was not a crime for a parent to kidnap and hide their child. Things are changing in China. Divorce rates are rising.

Most divorces are resolved in private. Custody sharing could be the result. Going to court is taking risks. It is often all or nothing.

The Chinese government banned the kidnapping for custody in June. Observers say it’s too early to tell if it will make a difference.

The number of children abducted for custody was around 80,000 in 2019. Most of the time it is the father who abducts the children. This reflects the Chinese tradition of boys as bearers of the surname.

Ms. Wang was having an abusive relationship with her father. The court agreed. But he still granted him full custody.

Chinese law usually entrusts custody to the mother when the child is less than two years old. In practice, judges favor men. They say men have more resources.

Ms. Wang finally obtained photos of her daughter, but her face was not clear in the photos. Ms. Wang thinks it was to prevent her from knowing what her daughter looked like. It prevents her from getting her daughter back.

Ms. Wang said, “If I’m not saving her in my dreams, then I’m chasing her. But his face looks like a void. I have no idea what it looks like. “

Source: The New York Times October 10, 2021

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