Tougher line urged toward juvenile crime

Updated: May 7, 2024 China Daily Print
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Head of top procuratorate calls for establishment of correctional schools


The fight against juvenile crime must be strengthened, with improved supervision of emerging issues, so that children can grow up in a healthier environment, Ying Yong, the procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said recently.

He also urged the bolstering of graded intervention and correction of juveniles' wrongful behaviors, adding that the establishment of special correctional schools needs to be promoted across the country.

The remarks were made by Ying in an article published on Wednesday in Qiushi Journal, a flagship magazine of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

"Juveniles should face prosecution or be held criminally liable in line with the law if they commit severe offenses, such as intentional homicide or intentional injury that leads to death," he said.

"The regulation and supervision of new businesses such as esports hotels, blind boxes, escape rooms and murder mystery games must also be intensified."

Such businesses are popular with teenagers, but the venues where they operate have often become the scenes of disputes. Data released last month by the Supreme People's Court, China's top court, showed that Chinese courts heard 1,205 cases of disruption of public order involving minors last year, more than five times the number in 2020.

While clarifying the need for greater efforts to combat juvenile crimes, Ying also urged prosecutors nationwide to adopt a zero tolerance approach and harshly punish those who sexually assault, abuse or harm children, with more help for victims who are minors.

In addition, it is essential to optimize procuratorial services and fully perform procuratorial duties, joining hands with families, schools, internet platforms and government departments to build a sound rule of law environment for children to grow up in, he said.

Juvenile delinquency has increased and is concentrated in offenses such as theft, rape, robbery, affray and disturbance, the top procuratorate revealed in late February.

It said that various factors lead to juvenile delinquency, including insufficient intervention measures and a lack of parental care, adding that inadequate protective and educational measures exacerbate the issue.

To correct the misbehavior of children in a timely manner and enhance their self-protection awareness, Chinese judicial authorities have taken a number of actions over the past few years. The Supreme People's Procuratorate has, for example, guided the building of 2,120 legal education practice bases for juveniles around the country, and mobilized 43,000 prosecutors to serve as vice-principals in charge of legal training in 77,000 primary and secondary schools.

Last week, the top court confirmed the rapid growth of juvenile crimes in the first three months of this year. It said about 12,000 juvenile criminals were punished from January to March, up 77.67 percent year-on-year.

While emphasizing that juvenile offenders with deep subjective malice who cause serious harm to others must be penalized to serve as a warning and to ensure fairness for victims, the top court also required judges to attach more importance to addressing the underlying issues of juvenile crimes when handling such cases.

It ordered courts at all levels to work with educational institutions, social organizations, families and government agencies to establish a comprehensive system to solve school bullying at an early stage, suggesting police conduct tighter inspections of entertainment venues and focus more on regulating emerging businesses.

"Punishment without addressing the root causes of juveniles' wrong behaviors is not an effective way to combat juvenile crimes," it said. "Prevention at the source is the key."



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