pondering

December 7th, 2008

The story of the woman who sued her husband for the right to breastfeed their child, which I posted very briefly about yesterday, has me intrigued. Trouble is neither of the TBN articles has much detail. The first article from late September tells the basics of the story, and yesterday’s article gives a quick recap, a very brief summary of the verdict, and a strange quote from the father. Based on the very little reported in TBN yesterday:

  • The mother, Ms Li, demanded the right to breastfeed her child. Fair enough, but notice the focus on her personal rights.
  • The judge awarded her that right, but seemed to talk more of the parents’ responsibility to do what is in the child’s best interests. Not rights to do what I want, responsibilities I have towards those in my care.
  • The father, Mr Liu, protested, saying his wife does not have money with which to raise a child, but nowhere does anybody mention his responsibility to provide for his wife and child.

But yesterday’s article didn’t provide much information, and the Mr Liu’s responsibility to provide for his wife and child may well have been beyond the scope of the trial, meaning the judge may not have been legally able to order him to pay child support. It’s hard to tell given the lack of information currently at my disposal.

So I guess I’ll have to go looking…. Well, it seems to me that the 法制晚报 would be a likely place to start, but apparently it’s not open on Sunday mornings. A search of Google.cn’s news gives only one result. Let’s see how good that is….

This article on the China Court Network is very similar to yesterday’s TBN piece in that it recaps the story and then gives only a very brief summary of the judgement. It does, however, provide two new pieces of information:

要求法院支持自己对孩子的哺乳权,同时还要求被告支付精神赔偿金两万元(诉讼过程中撤回该项诉求)。

She demanded the court support her right to breastfeed her child, and at the same time demanded the accused pay 20 thousand yuan in spiritual damages (this demand was withdrawn during proceedings).

法院审理后认为,由于双方孩子尚处哺乳期,出于对妇女、儿童合法权益的保护及有利儿童成长的原则故作出以上判决。

After the trial, the court came to the above that because the two parties’ child was still in the breastfeeding period, starting from the protection of women’s and children’s legal rights and interests and to favour the child’s growth.

So she did demand money, but for whatever reason, withdrew that demand. I think we can assume that she was not awarded any money, then, as either damages or child support.

Now, I’m not sure, but I suspect that the reference to protecting the legal rights and interests of women and children refers to the fact that Mr Liu tried to divorce Ms Li but was rejected because it is illegal for a man to divorce his wife while she is still breastfeeding the child.

And so still I am wondering….

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