A high-ranking official at China’s highest court on Sunday said that local judiciaries across the country should judge wisely on child sex abuse cases, suggesting that perpetrators should be given harsher punishments.
“For cases that have resulted in severe consequences, the convicts should be given heavy punishments or the death penalty according to the law,” He Rong, executive vice-president of the Supreme People’s Court of China said, adding that local courts should be cautious while handing out probation, commutations, or parole to convicts of sexual assault against minors.
The top official made the remarks at a conference discussing the Law on the Protection of Minors and the Law on the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, which will both take effect on June 1, 2021.
In a landmark revision this year, the Law on the Protection of Minors has included several provisions to better safeguard children following incidents, including child sexual abuse. The amendments include closer scrutiny of people working with children, mechanisms to handle bullying and sexual abuse, as well as bans on couples kidnapping children during custody battles.
He said the country’s laws “will not tolerate” any crimes against minors; but for minors who commit crimes, the laws will “reveal the spirits of leniency but not connivance.”
On Saturday, Chinese legislators also passed a law that would hold children aged 12 and 13 criminally responsible for severe acts of crime. Currently, the minimum age for criminal responsibility is 14.
“The goal is to form an atmosphere in which people don’t dare infringe upon the lawful rights and interests of minors and children,” He said, referring to the amendment on the Law on the Protection of Minors. “The best efforts will be made to ensure the healthy development of teenagers and children.”
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
(Header image: Aflo/People Visual)