China / Society

Prosecutors required to protect privacy of minors

By CAO YIN (China Daily) Updated: 2014-01-08 00:34

Prosecutors should not publicly disclose the private information of minors involved in criminal cases and are required to respect and protect their reputations, China's top procuratorate said on Tuesday.

Under a rule issued by the Supreme People's Procuratorate on Dec 31, prosecutors are told not to post or broadcast any information about minor offenders or victims, such as their names, home addresses, pictures or materials that can disclose their identities.

Chen Guoqing, director of the research office with the top prosecuting authority, told Xinhua News Agency on Tuesday that prosecutors must abide by the principle of using education to correct offenders who are minors.

According to the rule, prosecuting authorities at the provincial level and city level or with many criminal juvenile cases should establish special departments to deal with cases involving minors, aiming to fully protect young people's rights and guarantee their dignity.

If the procuratorate lacks the capability to have a special department, it should assign particular prosecutors to handle juvenile cases, or build a group as related incidents happen, the rule said.

Yue Huiqing, director of the juvenile crime office with the Beijing People's Procuratorate, welcomed the new regulation, said every district in the capital already has a special department to cope with minor-related cases.

Zong Chunshan, director of the Beijing Legal and Psychological Counseling Service Center for Juveniles, said it is important that everyone in society protect young people, especially minor offenders.

The release of the rule is timely, "which can also be an alert for judicial officers, especially lawyers, to strictly abide by laws and make minors' rights a priority," he added.

Wang Leilei, a prosecutor in Dongcheng district, said the special department in her authority has paid extra attention to steps that may easily allow leaks of youths' information.

"We don't drive prosecuting cars if we investigate young people in schools. We call principals or teachers prior to the investigation and tell them to keep 'secret' what is said during our face-to-face talks," she said.

"Prosecutors are also allowed to learn minor offenders' backgrounds from their neighbors or friends by using white lies. The more protection we give, the less damage there will be to the youths," she added.

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