Nanjing police detained a man on Monday who was photographed allegedly molesting a girl in public, angering millions of Chinese on the internet. The man was caught on camera putting his hands inside the girl’s dress and on her breast in a crowded waiting room at Nanjing South Railway Station were uploaded online.
Many netizens were shocked as the girl, who a witness said was about 10 to 12 years old, showed no sign of struggle and called the man “brother”.
According to the woman who took the pictures, surnamed Chen, the man’s parents were sitting next to him, and other relatives were also nearby.
“First I heard the girl sitting opposite to me giggling on the man’s lap and I thought he was tickling her,” said Chen. “I was astonished when I noticed that his hands were not on her waist but on her breast.
“During the whole process, the girl just played with a cell phone and didn’t struggle at all. The man’s father finally noticed that people around were watching them and asked his son to stand up and leave the place.”
Chen, a college student, said she did not report the incident to the police immediately because the relatives of the man outnumbered her. Though the man touched the girl for at least five minutes and some people took pictures of them, nobody at the scene stopped him and called the police, Chen said.
She sent the pictures to Chen Lan, a writer and NGO worker who has worked for years to protect abused children. The writer posted the pictures online and asked the police to help the girl.
According to Mo Jing, an officer with the Nanjing railway public security department, the police took immediate action after receiving the report, and officers were sent to the man’s hometown to investigate.
“We have sent policewomen to talk to the girl to make her feel not too nervous,” Mo said. “The results of the investigation will be released to the public on the internet as soon as possible.”
She said to protect the privacy of the girl, who is under 14, the details of the case cannot not be revealed currently.
According to Modern Express, the detained man is from Henan province and is a college student in Nanjing. Chen Lan, who founded the child-protection organization Home for Little Hope, said she was afraid the man might not be punished because of their relationship.
“The monitors may find many excuses and deny that it was molestation. They may even insist that it was normal touching among family members,” she said.
She said she hopes the child-protection measures from some developed countries can be used for reference in China.
“Abused children should be isolated from family members immediately and be helped by professionals, including medical workers, psychological experts and social workers,” she said.