I just read an article in the Shenzhen Daily that has me fuming. A 16-year old girl gave birth to twins on Sunday. Her 20-year old boyfriend is denying paternity and avoiding her calls, refusing to take responsibility for the children.

Already, there are two problems with this story.

1) The man is not being arrested and charged with rape. Even though people in China are not considered adults until they are 18, they are considered sexually mature at 14. This is one of the reasons why China has a huge problem with teachers having sexual relations with students. Girls are not legally protected from adult sexual predators after they turn 14.

2) Why is no one issuing a paternity test? I don’t have an answer for this. I don’t know if paternity testing just isn’t common or if it is too expensive or what. But asking for a paternity test seems like a pretty elementary move. However, the real reason I am so angry over this case is probably why no one is asking for a paternity test.

Apparently, it doesn’t matter if he is the father or not; a man in China is not legally responsible for his children.

At the end of the article, it says, “Li Yaguan, a lawyer with a Guangdong Province firm, said Ah Yue [the father] is not liable for criminal responsibility because Ah Wen [the mother] is at an eligible age for her behavior, but said Ah Yue should share the responsibility of raising his sons.”

So the mother is responsible for her actions and must care for the twins, but the father is not responsible for his actions and just run away with no liability whatsoever?

This is absolutely absurd. It is blatantly sexist to force only women to take full responsibility for an act that required two people. Also, it is completely at odds with China’s child abandonment laws. In China, child abandonment is illegal (even when children are abandoned at safe havens like the baby hatches, it is still illegal). How is this anything but child abandonment? If the mother was to decide she could not deal with these two babies (she is only 16, remember) and was to abandon them at the hospital, she would be arrested and charged, but, once again, that dirtbag of a rapist would get off scot-free.

Let me make it clear, I am not saying that women should have the right to abandon their children (though I do advocate baby Moses laws). What I am saying is that both people who created these little lives need to be held responsible to them. What people seem to forget is that it is the innocent babies who are going to suffer. If this man retains his “right” to abandon his children, the children will pay the price.

This man is a criminal. He is a rapist. He is abandoning his children. He should be in prison.

This standard that allows men to abandon their children has even farther-reaching consequences. China has a low divorce rate (though it is rising). One of the main reasons for this is China’s backwards custody laws. If a couple has a child and decides to divorce, the woman will most likely lose custody of her child if the father wants the child. China’s custody laws favor the parent who makes the most money, which is usually the father. Many women will stay in a bad marriage for fear of losing their children. But the story of the 16-year old girl shows why many women might stay in a bad marriage even if she isn’t worried about custody. If a man does pass up his custody rights, according to this situation, he would not be required to pay child support. China also does not have alimony laws. So if a woman leaves her husband, not only will she have to support herself, but would be solely responsible for the costs of raising her child as well.

China’s divorce, custody, and paternity laws are archaic and keep women chained to their husbands like slaves.

China’s laws are sexist and favor irresponsible, adult rapists over innocent, helpless, sick children.

I am disgusted at China’s legal system today.