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China arrests nearly 70,000 juvenile delinquents in 2003
Updated: 2004-05-29 23:33

China arrested 69,780 juvenile delinquents in 2003, an increase of 12.7 percent over 2002, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), accounting for 9.1 percent of the total criminal suspects arrested.

Among the arrested juvenile delinquents, 75.3 percent were held in jail on allegations of encroaching on others' property, and 17. 4 percent were charged with personal abuse and infringing on other people's legitimate rights, the SPP said.

Statistics show that 317,925 juvenile delinquents were arrested from 1998 to 2003, or 7.3 percent of the total criminal suspects arrested during the period.

Yang Shoujian, of the China Youth and Children Research Center, said juvenile delinquents in China these years have become younger than before.

Most of the young criminal suspects were aged between 15 and 16, according to a survey conducted by a leading office of preventing juvenile delinquency under the Chinese central government.

In 1996, this age group constituted 95.4 percent of the juvenile delinquents in the Chinese capital, and in 2002, 82 percent.

In recent years, China even saw some young offenders under 14 years old, Yang said.

Despite their young age, they showed enough fierceness and cruelty and began to use modern advanced technology in committing crimes, according to Yang.

Robbery, theft, assault and rape cases topped juveniles' crimes, Yang said, and in recent years, China has seen an increasing number of drug cases involving youngsters, as they account for 85 percent of China's drug addicts.

In addition, gang crimes accounted for 70 percent of juvenile delinquency, thus becoming a major criminal form of youngsters, Yang said.

The rate of juvenile delinquency has been on the rise worldwide for the past few years, and China is no exception, experts said, and this issue has aroused great attention from all circles.

Society, family and school all should shoulder their responsibilities in creating a healthy environment for the growth of youngsters and in preventing juvenile delinquency, said Liu Guizhi, of the China Law Society.

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