Juvenile delinquency on upward trend, says senior prosecutor

2024-02-26 10:03:11China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Juvenile delinquency has increased, with younger offenders, a senior prosecutor from the Supreme People's Procuratorate said recently.

Xian Jie, head of the top procuratorate's Ninth Procuratorial Office, said case data showed juvenile delinquency was concentrated in offenses such as theft, rape, robbery, affray and disturbance, which accounted for over 70 percent of juvenile crimes.

In an interview in Beijing on Wednesday, Xian said that while there had been a decrease in overall juvenile involvement in organized crime, the number of serious violent offenses involving minors had remained relatively stable. There had, however, been an increase in juvenile participation in offenses such as disturbing public order and assisting in criminal activities related to information networks, indicating persistent challenges in the crime situation.

Xian said various factors have contributed to juvenile delinquency, including insufficient intervention measures. Many juvenile offenders' improper acts were not met with timely and effective intervention and correction before they committed their first crime.

Inadequate protective and educational measures for juveniles exacerbated the issue. Some juvenile offenders come from broken families, lacked proper parental care, or were abused by guardians. Some dropped out of school and became disconnected from society, pushing them toward delinquency.

In the first 11 months of last year, 9.7 percent of the juvenile crime cases filed by procuratorates involved telecom fraud and associated crimes, Xian said.

In the same period, conditional non-prosecution was opted for in cases involving 28,000 juvenile suspects.

"There's been promotion of the establishment of a tiered intervention mechanism for juvenile offenders," Xian said. "The SPP has drafted opinions on strengthening tiered intervention and correction for juvenile offenders, to be released in conjunction with relevant departments."

To help prevent juvenile delinquency, the Supreme People's Procuratorate has guided the establishment of 2,120 legal education practice bases for juveniles nationwide, and mobilized 43,000 prosecutors to serve as vice-principals in charge of legal education in 77,000 primary and secondary schools.

Xian said procuratorial authorities had maintained a tough attitude toward sexual offenses against minors. From January to November last year, 32,000 cases involving child rape and molestation were brought to court, involving 38,000 individuals.

To address new situations and changes in sexual offenses against juveniles, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Supreme People's Court issued interpretations on handling cases of rape and molestation of minors. Joint opinions on handling cases of sexual offenses against minors were also issued by the Supreme People's Procuratorate, Supreme People's Court, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice.

The documents have played a crucial role in enabling judicial officers to accurately understand and correctly grasp legal standards for punishing sexual offenses against juveniles, effectively addressing differences and ambiguities in judicial practices, Xian said.

They also reinforced the intensity of punishment for sexual offenses against juveniles and helped enhance the protection of juvenile rights, she said, citing the establishment of mechanisms for AIDS prevention, emergency assistance and the protection for juvenile victims.

Xian said procuratorial authorities have also actively strengthened governance and supervision of emerging businesses such as esports hotels, escape rooms, on-demand cinemas and murder mystery games, which have gained popularity among minors.

In the first 11 months of last year, they handled 360 public interest litigation cases aimed at protecting juvenile customers of such businesses.

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