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Increase in juvenile crimes: The shocking way China is reacting to brutal murders of little girls

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China is grappling with a series of horrific murders of young girls perpetrated by boys as young as 12 years old. However, the way the communist country handles juvenile killers is almost as shocking, often allowing them to avoid jail time and instead sending them to mental institutions for brief periods. In some instances, the young offenders are even permitted to return to school shortly after committing their crimes, according to a news report from New York Post.
As China attempts to address the issue of holding children accountable for these heinous acts, which are most notoriously committed against other children, the parents of the victims frequently find themselves waiting for justice that may never arrive.
For many years, nations across the globe have grappled with the challenge of striking a balance between imposing penalties and extending mercy to young lawbreakers. This discussion is particularly significant in China, where the historical approach of showing relative clemency to juvenile offenders sharply contrasts with the restricted rights afforded to adult criminal defendants. The Chinese government has long prioritized the education and rehabilitation of young offenders over incarceration.
However, in recent times, there has been a growing public outcry in response to this approach. A series of high-profile murders allegedly perpetrated by minors in the past few years has prompted many Chinese citizens to demand stricter measures against juvenile crime. The government has taken notice of these calls for change and has begun to take action in response to the shifting public sentiment.
Gong Junli, whose 8-year-old daughter was brutally stabbed to death by a 13-year-old boy, is one of the latest grieving parents awaiting the Supreme People’s Court‘s (SPC) decision on whether to sentence his child’s killer to prison.
In March, the story of a single father’s ordeal gained attention when authorities decided to file criminal charges against a teenage boy. Red Star News reported that the boy allegedly lured the man’s daughter into a wooded area in Xinjing Township in September 2022.
Once in the woods, the boy reportedly stabbed the girl several times and left her body among a group of poplar trees, according to officials.
The authorities reported that the 13-year-old suspect had allegedly gathered various items, including knives, blades, disposable gloves, and plastic ropes, in preparation for the crime. These tools were strategically hidden in a wooded area where the suspect had asked the victim to join him for play.
Authorities reported that the teenage suspect displayed a lack of remorse and spoke about the incident in a casual manner during police questioning.
In 2021, China reduced the age of criminal responsibility from 14 to 12. However, unlike in the United States, children are not sent to detention centres, and adult-level punishments are seldom imposed for murder. The lenient sentencing practices were common even before the 2021 amendment, with young offenders often being sent to juvenile rehabilitation centres or psychological correction facilities for short periods.
Despite the new law, China continues to witness increased cases against juveniles. Between 2020 and 2023, prosecutors charged 243,000 minors, with an average case increase of 5% per year. The SPC recently announced that it had handed down sentences against 12,000 minors in the first three months of 2024 and issued new guidelines on preventing juvenile crime, suggesting that courts could hold parents and guardians responsible for their children’s actions.
The court specifically noted that 30% of those who committed violent crimes between 2021 and 2013 were from “left-behind” or single-parent families. Left-behind children, who remain in rural areas while their parents work in cities, also make up a significant portion of bullying victims in China. The recent spate of violent incidents has prompted calls for parents to return home and focus on raising their children, with the Supreme People’s Court urging communities to work together to address the issue.





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