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Chinese courts concluded 73,178 criminal cases involving young individuals
China Daily
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Chinese courts concluded 73,178 criminal cases involving young individuals

Judges and relevant workers are being urged to attach greater importance to addressing the underlying issues of juvenile crime such as inadequate family care, internet addiction, and school bullying, in order to provide a better environment for children to grow up in.

The Supreme People's Court made the requirement in response to the rising instances of juvenile delinquency over the past three years.

From 2021 to 2023, Chinese courts concluded 73,178 criminal cases involving people under the age of 18 and sentenced 98,426 juveniles, according to data released by China's top court on April 16.

Following heated public discussions on intentional killing or injury caused by young individuals, the top court emphasized that the principle of punishment was "tolerance without indulgence" when dealing with such cases.

"Juvenile offenders with deep subjective malice that causes serious harm to other people, especially those who show no remorse or incorrigible ones, should be penalized in line with laws, to serve as a warning to others and to ensure fairness for the victims," the court said.

Chinese courts recently concluded four criminal cases involving four juveniles aged 12 to 14, who were given prison terms ranging from 10 to 15 years for serious and violent offenses, the court said.

"Any issues discovered during trials of cases involving minors that may lead to juvenile delinquency or victimization must not be left unattended," it added.

For example, many cases had instances where young criminals had either bullied others or been the victims of bullying in school, without timely intervention from school authorities, leading to more serious offenses, it said.

"Therefore, collaborative efforts by schools, families, social organizations and government agencies to build a joint work system to address bullying and solve the problem at an early stage is essential and urgent," it said.

The court suggested public security departments conduct tighter inspections of entertainment venues, where a range of juvenile crimes occurred along with minors being victimized.

Data released by the top court showed that courts nationwide heard 1,205 cases of disrupting public order involving minors in 2023, a 5.28-fold increase compared with 2020. The majority involved teenagers being organized to engage in paid companionship in bars and nightclubs, "reflecting the lack of supervision and protection of children in these business venues," it added.

In addition, judges across the country have been urged to provide stronger care and support to children affected by family-related civil lawsuits, such as child custody disputes and divorce proceedings, and try to correct any resulting misbehavior in a timely manner.

About 30 percent of juvenile defendants who committed violent crimes between 2021 and 2023 came from left-behind or single-parent families, indicating that a lack of parental care, education and supervision were contributing factors, the court said.

It also called for greater attention to be paid to harmful information circulating in cyberspace. Nearly 60 percent of minors who committed robbery, theft and violent crimes over the past three years were found to be long-term internet addicts, or were more susceptible to unhealthy online influences.

While pledging to improve the quality of case handling involving minors, the court said it would promote education about the law in schools and increase information sharing about children with other authorities to ensure they can receive timely help and grow up in a sound environment.

China DailyGu Yetao

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