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A photo taken on May 24, 2013 shows the victims of sexual abuse by a primary school teacher in Douchenggou village of Huanggang township, Tongbai county, Nanyang, in central China's Henan Province. [Photo: sina.com.cn]
Police have detained a teacher for sexually abusing primary school students at a village in Nanyang, in central China's Henan Province, the Dahe newspaper reports.
The 16 victims are girls aged between 7 and 13. Most of the children are so-called "left-behind children," meaning they are left behind in their rural hometowns while two or one of their parents migrate to cities to find jobs.
The teacher, 56-year-old Yang Shifu, is also a resident of Douchenggou village of Huanggang township, Tongbai county. The teacher was respected by parents before the incident, the report says.
Most of the victims had been too afraid to tell their parents about the sexual abuse because Yang used physical and verbal threats to force them to remain silent, the report says.
It was not until May 22 when a 9-year-old victim complained to her mother about the trauma on her body caused by Yang's abuse that the parents at the school began to realize the abuse. Subsequent inquiries revealed a total of 16 girls had been abused by Yang.
The school currently has 40 students, including girls, most of whom are left-behind children.
The case is under further investigation. The report says some of Yang's early victims have already graduated from the school or married.
The county public security bureau says Yang has been detained. The county government says the head of the school has been suspended.
A report issued in May by the All-China Women's Federation and Renmin University shows the there are about 61.02 million left-behind children in the country's rural areas.