A 60-year-old teacher has been detained by police in Hunan for sexually molesting 19 primary school girls.

The teacher, Zhou Jianmin, taught science to grades three and four at the Bazishao Township School in Yiyang City in Hunan Province. He confessed to police that he molested 19 of his students, Xinhua reported on Saturday.

Thus far, 26 girls, 8 to 11 years old, have undergone physical checks and two of them suffered from genital inflammation. The government has made psychological consultation available to the students. The principal of the school has also been dismissed.

China has suffered a string of child molestation cases involving teachers in recent years, some have involved foreign teachers, some have involved local teachers. The government announced in May that China charged a total of 8,069 people with the sexual abuse of children between 2010 and 2013. In response, in late 2013, Chinese lawmakers instituted harsher penalties in child molestation cases, especially when involving teachers, making it legally equivalent with rape and therefore punishable with anywhere between 10 years in prison to death.

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