Chalk-Flower Arrest: Is China Right To Take Pro-Democracy Teens From Parents?

A report by CNN, Chinese law enforcement officials arrested a 14-year-old protester for over a chalk flower drawing.

The teenage girl was said to have drawn chalk art on a wall at one of the city’s pro-democracy protest sites, known as the “Lennon Wall.”

She was taken into custody by police during the early hours of December 23. Following her arrest, the teenage protester was held by authorities for close to 17 hours.

According to Patricia Ho, the teen’s legal representative, this matter is much more serious than a simple chalk flower drawing.

Ho said that Chinese officials feel that the unnamed girl’s father cannot properly care for her. They are using her arrest as grounds to recommend that she be removed from his care and placed in a children’s home.

Patricia Ho considers the response to the arrest to be “premature and disproportionate”.

“It wasn’t an application by the Social Welfare Department as it usually would be. Police threw in a bunch of facts they obtained about the family in a very superficial manner.”

Aside from the chalk flower arrest, the teen was also known to police via a previous incident. According to her lawyer, the young protester was the victim of school bullies to such a degree that the police were involved.

Chinese officials have stated that despite the arrest, the decision to take the 14-year-old away from her father has no “political consideration” and was done with “the best interest of the child” in mind.

The decision to place the girl in a children’s home may not be related to her arrest over a simple chalk flower drawing or her role in the Hong Kong protests, however there MAY be bias of a different kind involved.

Her father, who has yet to respond to requests to comment about the case, has a serious hearing disability. It’s possible that his handicap could be what Chinese authorities meant when they expressed doubts regarding his ability to monitor his daughter and that he is “neglecting” her.

Regardless of the true motivations, the girl’s arrest and removal from her father’s care has sparked outrage in Hong Kong.

The arrest and removal of the teen for the chalk flower drawing is similar to another ongoing case involving a 14-year-old boy who was taken from his parents during the protests.

He is also being represented by Patricia Ho, who is flabbergasted at the response by Chinese officials.

“I still don’t understand why [the police aren’t charging these teens] if they wish to deter them from the actual action. They’re going sideways and looking at whether the family can take care of them, almost implying that if any parent allows their child to take part in this movement then they are neglecting their child.”

The 14-year-old protester is out on bail and under a strict 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. She also reportedly cannot leave her home unless she is with either her father, sister or a social worker.

She is expected to attend a court hearing on January 19.

[Image Credit: ..Russ..]

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