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Judicial System

Protection of minors' rights to be intensified

Updated: May 27, 2022 By YANG ZEKUN CHINA DAILY Print
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Students at the Nanmo township central primary school in Hai'an, East China's Jiangsu province, play jumping rope on the playground, Feb 21, 2022. [Photo/IC]

The Supreme People's Procuratorate has pledged to improve judicial protection for minors and intensify efforts to punish and prevent crimes against them.

Juvenile crimes often expose comprehensive problems in civil rights, administrative supervision and the protection of public interest, said Na Yanfang, head of the SPP's ninth procuratorial office, which is responsible for minors.

Procuratorates nationwide prosecuted 60,553 people for crimes against minors last year, up 5.7 percent year-on-year, including 27,851 for sexual assault. The SPP supervised the handling of 30 major cases of sexual assault on minors.

To protect the legitimate rights and interests of minor victims, procuratorates, public security organs and women's federations have set up more than 1,600"one-stop" interview and rescue areas to shield minor victims from "secondary injuries".

"The protection of minors is facing more a complex situation, with the number of infringements on minors continuing to rise, and the number of juvenile crimes on the rise," Na said.

Problems such as minors who are addicted to the internet or who lack guardianship are still prominent, and juvenile protection from the family, school, society, government and judiciary is insufficient, she said.

Procuratorates have handled 2,198 cases involving the prevention of minors dropping out of school, the pursuit of child support money, and the recovery of large amounts of money spent by minors online, to help minors obtain the rights of protection and relief.

In one case released by the SPP, a 14-year-old boy surnamed Cheng from Shanghai downloaded and registered on an online app, bought virtual coins and paid for rewards on the app without the knowledge of his parents. From July 2020 to February 2021, Cheng spent about 217,000 yuan ($31,000) on the app.

In March 2021, Cheng initiated a lawsuit against the company that operates the app, requesting the company return the money, and applied to the Songjiang district procuratorate to support the lawsuit.

Prosecutors found that the app didn't strictly implement a real-name registration system, had weak real-time supervision, and was involved in many complaints related to online consumption by minors.

Prosecutors supported the civil lawsuit and helped Cheng recover all of the money.

In 2020, nine departments issued a guideline for establishing a compulsory reporting system for cases of infringement on minors. It requires that staff at schools, hospitals, hotels and in other industries closely related to minors immediately report to public security organs when they find evidence that minors have suffered or are suspected to have suffered illegal infringement.

Prosecutors have obtained evidence through compulsory reporting in 2,854 cases since 2020. In addition, prosecutors found 1,604 cases in which staff who were responsible failed to fulfill their compulsory reporting obligations, of whom staff in 299 cases were held accountable.

They also guided the vetting of more than 7.48 million people before they entered industries that have close contact with minors, and pushed for the dismissal of more than 2,900 people with criminal records.

Li Feng, deputy head of the procuratorial office for minors, said that compulsory reporting and industry entry inquiries had been listed in the amended Juvenile Protection Law.

"We will work with relevant departments to issue judicial interpretations on handling sexual assault cases, and guide procuratorates to share information with other departments to conduct an annual analysis of crimes of sexual assault against minors," he said.

Additionally, random inspections would be carried out on campuses, especially in schools located in rural areas and on the fringes of urban and rural areas, to promptly discover, supervise and correct any problems, he added.

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