For nearly three months, a teacher systematically raped 26 fourth- and fifth-grade girls in the rural village of Xinji, China, reports the New York Times. Some girls were raped more than once as the teacher, Li Guang, 28, attacked them in a daily rotation. He was found out when a 14-year-old refused to go to school for fear that the next morning would be her “turn.” She did not want to be raped a third time.
The horrific case would be a national scandal in most countries, but in China it has been kept quiet by state censorship. At the heart of the case is the Chinese reverence for teachers, so powerful that students did not dare speak out. That Confucian idea holds fast, particularly in isolated areas like the farming village where it happened, even as Chinese society is being shaken by modernization. Parents grant teachers carte blanche, some even condoning beatings, while students are trained to honor and obey teachers, never challenge them.