The Province (Canada), Dec. 5, 2002
A Chinese father convicted of assaulting his teenage daughters to discipline them says he was trying to keep them from the clutches of a cult-like temple.
Now the man – who cannot be identified because of a publication ban — says his only hope is his 15- and 19-year-old daughters will stop associating with the Buddhist nun whose influence turned them into strangers.
“We used to be a happy and close family,” he said yesterday. “But ever since my daughters met this nun, they turned into completely different people.”
The father, a Buddhist, says his daughters met the nun at a temple which he believes may house a cult.
A B.C. Supreme Court jury found the man and his wife guilty of six of nine charges ranging from assault to unlawful confinement. Their sentencing hearing yesterday was adjourned to Jan. 24.
Child-welfare authorities removed the sisters from their east Vancouver home in February 2000 after the girls said their parents had cut their hair against their will, tied them up and slapped them.
The trial raised issues of cultural differences between a couple who grew up in a traditional Chinese society where children were raised to be obedient and a Canadian legal system with a strict interpretation of child abuse.
The father said he began to worry about the girls when they stopped calling home when they were out late. They hung icons on their walls and prayed to them, causing him further fears.
The couple, who also have two younger children, were at their wits’ end in trying to control their daughters, defence lawyer Peter Kendall said.
The father said he accepts the jury’s verdict. His big concern is his future relationship with the girls, who have refused to speak to their parents since they were moved to foster homes.
“It’s very cruel, it’s very cruel,” he said. “This has been blown up so much and it has become such a big case that a few years from now they will not forget this. It’s going to affect our relationship.”