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School CP- November 1996

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The Straits Times, Singapore, 29 November 1996

Brutal corporal punishment in school shocks Taiwan

TAIPEI -- Taiwan has unveiled a shocking report of severe corporal punishment involving 19 teenage boys who were caned and one who was sexually molested by senior schoolmates over the past three years.

Leading newspapers on Wednesday ran front-page stories of the brutality, with China Times publishing a picture showing bruises and bloody welts on the buttocks and legs of some of the punished boys.

Eleven of the 13- and 14-year-olds -- studying in a boarding school in Taipei which teaches Chinese opera -- told a press conference on Wednesday that eight 17-year-old schoolmates had meted out unreasonable punishment and engaged in sexual assaults.

"We couldn't take it any more. We don't want to go to school any more ... We have suffered so much in the past several years," said one 14-year-old.

The boy, whose name was withheld to protect his privacy, said they were beaten all the time -- after lunch, after class, before going to bed.

Their attackers had warned them not to tell their parents of the beatings and molestation or face more severe punishment, he added.

Another boy who had been molested recalled tearfully his experience, saying one of the eight seniors forced him into oral sex, and later raped him in the presence of classmates in their dormitory.

"Three years ago, we knew nothing at all, but under the threats of the seniors, we now take up smoking, drinking and gambling," he said.

The school authorities admitted they were aware of the private punishment, and had stopped the students from punishing others.

Former student Chu Lu-hao, now a popular Chinese-opera actor, said when he was young he was also punished frequently by his seniors, almost a tradition at the Chinese opera school.

But he said punishment at that time was not unreasonable.

Vice-Education Minister Yang Chao-hsiang told reporters that his ministry would send supervisors, psychologists and physicians to the school to investigate the case and hold discussions with the students. -- AFP.

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