Photo: Li Hao/GT
Beijing has launched a citywide inspection of kindergartens following allegations of child abuse at a private kindergarten that sparked public outrage Thursday.
The capital's education authority is also requiring kindergartens in all districts to improve safety, professional ethics and teaching quality, the Beijing Municipal Education Commission said on its Weibo Friday.
The education commission's move comes after preschool children at the RYB Education New World kindergarten in Chaoyang district were allegedly sexually molested, pierced by needles and given unspecified drugs.
The education commission has given priority to this incident, and asked the district and the kindergarten to cooperate with the police investigation, the announcement added.
"We will thoroughly investigate any incident and punish those involved regardless of where the incident takes place…We are committed to preventing child abuse cases from happening," the commission said.
Furious parents have protested outside the kindergarten demanding a response from the head of the kindergarten and that they are allowed to watch surveillance videos.
Audio and video recordings, in which children claimed they were forced to take pills to sleep and given physical examinations by some "uncle and grandpa doctors," with one allegedly being naked, went viral Thursday, sparking public outrage.
RYB Education responded Friday, saying that the company has provided documents and surveillance footage to police, and that the teachers allegedly involved have been suspended.
The company also told police it has been falsely accused and framed by some people. The company added it would apply a zero tolerance policy on those who violate professional ethics.
Founded in 1998, RYB Education is based in Beijing and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It has more than 1,300 daycare centers and nearly 500 kindergartens in 300 cities in China, according to its website.
The media has reported alleged child abuse cases at other kindergartens as well. A teacher at a kindergarten in Zhenjiang, East China's Jiangsu Province reportedly punched the heads and pulled the ears of children. The local education bureau said Thursday the teacher who allegedly committed the acts has been suspended, and police are investigating the case, the Nanjing-based newspaper Modern Express reported Friday.