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Protection of juveniles enhanced

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-30 08:47
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Courts in Beijing ramp up efforts to tackle crimes targeting minors

Over the past five years, more than 20 criminals have been sentenced to life imprisonment or received death sentences in Beijing for severely harming children through sexual assault, abuse or other violent means, showing the capital's strong determination to protect juveniles, a report said.

The report on juvenile justice, issued by the Beijing High People's Court on Wednesday, said courts citywide concluded more than 25,000 cases involving children from the beginning of 2019 to April this year, about 10 percent of which were criminal cases.

Crimes such as molestation, humiliation and rape committed against those under the age of 18 accounted for over 70 percent of the offenses, indicating "sexual assault has become the most prominent problem that harms the rights and interests of children," the report said.

A large number of offenders were relatives, friends or teachers of the victims, and they were found to have used those intimate relationships to deceive, threaten and sexually abuse them, it said.

Some offenders were discovered to have sexually assaulted one or more minors for a long time or repeatedly, causing serious trauma to the victims' physical and mental health, it added.

Holding a "zero-tolerance "stance on crimes against children, Beijing judges have been required to prudently deal with sexual assault cases involving minors, with harsher penalties for criminals, said Ren Xuefeng, vice-president of the high court.

For example, one case in the report showed that a defendant was sentenced to death for chasing and beating three victims, two of whom were minors, resulting in one death and two injuries.

In another case, a man received a 15-year sentence after using the internet to lure or threaten several children aged 7 to 14 to send naked pictures or videos to him to watch and post online.

In addition to prison terms for the criminals, Ren said that more than 60 people who raped, sexually assaulted or abused children have been banned from working in the education sector. He added that 23 education workers among the 60 were banned from the industry for life.

A guideline was jointly issued by the country's top judicial authorities — the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate — as well as the Ministry of Education in 2022 with the aim of keeping juveniles from harm and purifying the education sector.

Li Luoyun, chief judge of the high court's juvenile adjudication tribunal, said that Beijing courts have used innovative measures to strengthen child protection and improve the quality of juvenile cases in recent years.

For example, Beijing Haidian District People's Court has required judges to provide psychological aid for students — both attackers and victims — involved in school bullying while handling related disputes, with stronger legal education for the children, as well as their families and teachers.

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