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Dalian offender sent to rehab center for 3 years

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-10-28 15:39

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A 13-year-old boy was sent to rehabilitation center for three years for killing a 10-year-old girl in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning province, the harshest punishment within the current legal system for a minor, local police told The Beijing News on Sunday.

Police also confirmed that the killing was conducted by the boy himself, and his parents neither knew nor took part in it.

The boy, surnamed Cai, tricked the girl to his home, sexually assaulted her, stabbed her to death and dumped her body into the green belt of the community, the girl's father told Jinyun News.

Dalian police announced on Thursday that Cai will not face criminal charges because he is not yet 14, the legal age of criminal responsibility under China's Criminal Law.

According to the law, for criminals under 16 who will not face criminal charges, their parents or guardians should discipline them. They will be put into rehabilitation center if necessary.

The police believed Cai's parents don't have the ability to discipline him after collecting and reviewing evidence, thus deciding to send him to a rehabilitation center.

The case triggered a heated discussion on whether the age of criminal responsibility should be lowered for minors.

Upon interview with The Paper, Luo Xiang, professor with the Criminal Justice College, China University of Political Science and Law, advocated for lowering the age of criminal responsibility and suggested the age be lowered to 12 years old.

"Theoretically speaking, people of any age should bear criminal responsibility if they commit intentional homicide," he said.

The General Provisions of the Civil Law has lowered the age of no civil capability from 10 to 8 years old, in order to adapt to the practical needs of society, he said. So too should Criminal Law meet the same needs and requirements.

Public interest lawyer Zhao Liangshan also supported lowering the age.

"Children are precocious now; it's necessary to adjust the age of criminal responsibility," he said.

Zhao also pointed out that the dereliction of duty of Cai's guardians led him to violate another's right to life, so the guardians should also bear civil compensation according to Tort Liability Law.

Tong Lihua, director of a juvenile law research center in Beijing, said lowering the age is a relatively simple choice. A complete educational correction system should be set up to effectively control crimes. "There is a system gap within educational correction for juveniles who are under 14 years old but have committed criminal crimes," he said.

He called for a timely revision of the law on the prevention of juvenile delinquency to clarify which departments are in charge, as well as where and how the educational correction is carried out.

Some lawyers argued, however, that the age shouldn't be lowered due to individual cases.

On Saturday, lawmakers reviewed draft revisions to the law on the protection of minors and the law on the prevention of juvenile delinquency at the bimonthly session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

During the group discussion, many lawmakers mentioned serious crimes committed by juveniles. Zheng Gongcheng, economics professor at Renmin University of China, said it's not enough to warn offenders of the consequences if there is no criminal responsibility.

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