China has lowered the age of criminal responsibility to 12 from 14 for some serious crimes as it cracks down on a rise in juvenile crimes.
The amendment to criminal law, passed Saturday by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, declares that children between the ages of 12 and 14 will bear criminal responsibility for “intentional homicide or intentional injury that leads to death or causes others severe disabilities by extremely cruel means.”
The law will take effect on March 1.
The age of criminal liability is 16 in China, and children between 14 and 16 were held criminally responsible for crimes like rape, robbery and intentional homicide.
According to state-run media, crimes committed by those under 14 accounted for 20 percent of all juvenile crimes in 2017 – up from 12.3 percent in 2009, the South China Morning Post reported.
Minors convicted of committing serious crimes previously often received what appeared to be lenient punishments, sparking calls for the legislature to toughen penalties for serious crimes.
In one case, a 13-year-old boy from Dalian was given three years of correctional education after being found guilty of murdering a 10-year-old girl in October 2019.
With Post Wires
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