Judicial System

Judicial system tightened to better protect minors

Updated: Jul 19, 2022 By YANG ZEKUN CHINA DAILY Print
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Comprehensive judicial protection for minors is being improved, with some 2,900 people with criminal records and engaged in industries that have close contact with minors removed from their posts since 2020, senior prosecutors said on Monday.

Procuratorial organs actively perform their functions of legal supervision and work with other departments to promote the establishment of the comprehensive protection of minors, Tong Jianming, deputy prosecutor-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said at a news conference in Beijing.

In September 2020, the SPP and the ministries of education and public security issued a guideline requiring schools to check the criminal records of all new staff before recruiting them.

Authorities have conducted employment-based criminal record checks for over 7.4 million people who are engaged in industries that have close contact with minors since then.

A document issued by nine central departments including the SPP in May 2020 requires that public servants and employees of organizations that have close contact with minors shall immediately report to public security organs if they discover that minors have suffered or are suspected to have suffered any infringement. Procuratorates nationwide have handled over 2,800 cases of infringement on minors that were found via compulsory reporting.

"Information inquiry and compulsory reporting are included in the Law on the Protection of Minors. The law has formed a new pattern of protecting minors covering the aspects of family, school, society, the internet, government and judiciary," Tong said.

While providing comprehensive protection to minors, procuratorial organs upheld the policy of combining harsh punishment and leniency in handling criminal cases involving minors, persisting in offering the utmost education and rescue of minors involved in crimes, and severely punishing minors involved in serious crimes, according to Tong.

According to the SPP, in the first half of this year, 63 percent of juvenile delinquents were spared from being arrested, 54 percent were spared from prosecution and 36 percent were not prosecuted with certain conditions.

Minors who commit serious crimes should be put under strict control and punished in accordance with the law without toleration. From 2018 to the end of June 2022, about 46,000 juvenile suspects were prosecuted, he said.

Procuratorates uphold the policy of fewer arrests and cautious prosecution and detention in judicial practice given that the structure of the criminal case is undergoing a significant change, with the proportion of felony cases such as robbery and murder continuing to decline and the proportion of misdemeanor cases like drunk driving and disturbing market order, increasing year by year, said Zhang Xiaojin, head of the SPP's fourth procuratorial office.

About 90 percent of misdemeanors were sentenced to imprisonment of fewer than three years or were not prosecuted at all. Nearly 90 percent of cases adopted the leniency policy based on guilty pleas.

"However, the leniency policy doesn't mean universal clemency for offenders. When adopting the leniency policy, prosecutors should accurately grasp the relationship between leniency and severity and fully consider the special circumstances of individual cases," said Zhang.

Crimes that seriously endanger national security, public security, encompass serious violence and organized crime, crimes that injure vulnerable groups including women, children, the elderly and the disabled, and other crimes that have serious subjective malignancy and criminal circumstances must be strictly punished, he said.

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