Last weekend, the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress held a meeting, and one of the contents aroused great concern of the whole society. That is, the Standing Committee deliberated on the revised draft of the law on the prevention of juvenile delinquency. The reason for this great attention is because of a news background: a boy under the age of 14 in Dalian killed a 10-year-old girl. However, he is still two months away from the age of 14. Even though he is 1.75 meters tall and weighs more than 140 Jin, he still does not bear criminal responsibility according to the existing law and is only taken into custody for three years, which causes strong concern of the whole society. In this context, the members of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress have to pay high attention to the law because it is related to minors. While the Standing Committee members were practicing the law, they also had a lot of arguments. In the new era background, in the widespread concern of people, how on earth should we be more reasonable to juvenile delinquency? This week, Newsweek focuses on juvenile delinquency and punishment.
Adult juvenile crime
Its been two weeks since Qiqi, a 10-year-old girl from Dalian, was killed on Saturday. There are still people from all over Dalian to Qiqis last living quarter, sending candles, flowers, dolls and mourning.
In addition to lamenting the passing of young life, people are even more angry and afraid of the murderer, Cai Mou, who is nearly two months old and 14 years old.
Time back to the afternoon of October 20. That day, Qiqi went to art class as usual. Originally, my mother would pick her up at 3 oclock, but I dont know why. During the nap, my cell phone was muted and I didnt get up on time. Maybe its not far from home, Qiqi decides to walk back.
The roadside monitoring pictures show that at 3:20, Qiqi, wearing red clothes and carrying a cloth bag, passed by from east to west and walked into a street next to Cais house. Qiqis parents later realized that Qiqi should have been stared at by Cai a long time ago.
Qiqis mother: listen to my object, he went to (my shop) before three oclock and asked if my child (in class) had come back. He may have this motivation. First, he asked the child (where). In the process of looking for the child, my object said that he came again and asked if my child could be found. It should be more than four oclock.
According to the police investigation, Kikis time of death should be around 3:30 p.m. That is to say, CAI for the second time to Qiqis parents chat up, asked Qiqi whereabouts, Qiqi has been killed. It is reported that Qiqi died of excessive blood loss. Her chest and abdomen were stabbed seven times by CAI with a folding fruit knife. Moreover, Cais process from killing Qiqi at home to throwing Qiqi in the low bushes across the house was very consistent, taking only 10 minutes.
Until the results of the investigation were released, Qiqis family had never thought that Cai would be the perpetrator of the crime. Because Cai, 13, and Qiqis brother attended the same middle school, and Qiqi had the same trusteeship class, and they also knew each other.
Cai later published a series of words and deeds in the class wechat group, such as ha ha, I am 14 and if nothing happens, which made Qiqis parents feel even colder.
In Qiqis parents view, Cais criminal means and mind have reached the level of adults, and he has made use of the existing laws and regulations to excuse himself. According to the criminal law of our country, the minors can only take criminal responsibility when they are over 16 years old. Although there are eight kinds of criminal crimes, such as intentional homicide and rape, the age of accountability has been relaxed, but it is still limited to 14 to 16 years old. Therefore, Cai, who is only 14 years old and 2 months behind, is still a group of people without criminal responsibility ability and cant be prosecuted for criminal responsibility despite the bad case. On October 24, four days after the crime, Dalian police, with the approval of the superior public security organ, made a decision to send CAI to Liaoning Provincial juvenile prison for three years.
PI Yijun, director of the Research Center for juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice, Professor of China University of political science and Law: three years of detention and rehabilitation will be regarded as the top-notch treatment. This is what our law stipulates. Our countrys juvenile detention is largely put together with the juvenile penitentiary. In terms of facilities, it is no different from the prison. Its treatment is administrative punishment, and the other side (the juvenile prison) is criminal punishment. But the sentence is now three years. Is it possible to extend it? This needs to be discussed in law.
Killing is only for three years. This week, the news that CAI was taken into custody triggered a strong public opinion rally in the community. They worry that Cais return to the community will become a security risk and commit similar crimes again. At least three adult women said they had been followed and harassed by CAI. Although after reporting the case, the police asked Cais parents to exercise strict discipline, but in the end, they did not end up committing the crime again.
Qiqis mother: its been 13 days since my child left. Theres no movement there. He hasnt apologized. I dont look for him, so I ask the law to give me justice, return my childs grievances, and ask him to judge again. Just because youre underage? Can minors kill one child in a family, innocent children?
The society is progressing and the times are changing. The minors of today are quite different from those of the past. For example, public transport must modify the rules of childrens tickets based on their height in the past, because the longer the children are, the higher they will be. In the same way, the boy under the age of 14 in Dalian has followed the adult women in the community for many times, which makes the adult women feel uneasy and threatened. Children may not be the weak children we imagined. What should the society do at this time? Around the revision of the law, there is one opinion that the media has reported a lot, that is, to reduce the age of irresponsibility from 14 to 12, but is that enough? And is that ok?
Can lowering the age of criminal responsibility solve the problem?
This week, Kiki, the victim, remains the object of regret. Police reported that the perpetrator, Cai, was born in January 2006, about two months and 14 years from the time of the crime. In our country, juvenile delinquency still uses adult code for conviction and sentencing. According to the provisions of criminal law on age of criminal responsibility, under the age of 14, there is no accountability. Some people feel that Cai XX is equal to perfect escape from punishment. Earlier, the police said that three years custody and rehabilitation is the most severe measure in the current legal framework, and they are helpless to deal with such a top-level treatment. In recent years, there have been many cases of under 14-year-old becoming the talisman of juvenile delinquency. In addition, there are doubts about whether the detention can really play a disciplinary role. The public has been calling for reducing the age of criminal responsibility.
PI Yijun, director of the research center of juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice, Professor of China University of political science and Law: actually, there is still a strong sense of indignation in this area. I hope that we can get rid of all evils. Ancient Chinese culture is to get rid of all evils. For the public, there is no tolerance for this evil. He hopes that through this kind of reduction of criminal responsibility, more children who are likely to have such bad habits can enter the scope of criminal punishment and reduce their age. In fact, it is necessary to expand the efforts to combat. For example, we can reduce our age to 13. What should we do if there is a 12-year-old crime?
PI Yijun believes that there is no end to blindly reducing the age of criminal responsibility, and once it is closed, it is easy to cause a single and one-sided law enforcement. However, it is also a fact that the age of 14-year-old criminal responsibility has not changed for 40 years in China. Some studies show that the physiological development of Chinese teenagers is at least two to three years ahead of 20 years ago. Some minors have a clear understanding of avoiding criminal responsibility by age. Some experts call that a proper reduction of criminal age can play a deterrent role. PI Yijun believes that extreme cases such as Dalian are a few, so we cant use a few cases to make a global judgment, but we need to use empirical research to make a professional analysis of juvenile crime cases. We can learn from foreign malicious age supplement clauses, that is, if we can prove that minors have clear subjective malicious intent, we can make up for the age gap and presume that they have criminal capacity.
The United Nations has proposed to set the minimum age of criminal responsibility as 12, which reflects the best interests of children. But the victim, Xiao Qi, was only 10 years old and was also a minor. Tolerance without criminal responsibility does not mean connivance. How to make everyone feel fairness and justice in every judicial case is the common goal of the public. On Thursday, the draft law on the protection of minors was open to the public for comments, which made it clear that social investigation and psychological assessment could be used as a reference for handling criminal cases involving minors, which provided an opportunity for the case to learn from the principle of malicious age compensation and explore more flexible judicial space.
PI Yijun, director of the research center of juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice, Professor of China University of political science and Law: this CAI is one meter seven, very mature physically, as well as psychological judgment and cognitive ability. If a crime under the age of 14 is minor, we still need to use the method of reprieve. If a serious crime is committed, such crimes as murder, robbery and rape should be dealt with seriously.
It is a world problem to punish the juvenile of crime. A British minor who has been executed to make up for his age maliciously has been jailed for fighting and carrying drugs for many times since he was released from prison. A large number of child pornography pictures have been found on his computer. In order to prevent his suicide, the prison also provides him with games and TV, even including a personal gym. The complexity of the punishment can be seen.
Tolerance is by no means humane. Similarly, in the absence of correctional punishment, juvenile offenders may commit crimes again and harm society again. How can we ensure that people like Cai no longer appear?
No matter in the face of this case in Dalian or in the revision of laws by the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress, the opinions are not completely unified. Some believe that we should not change our protection of minors because of extreme cases, and relevant laws should not be moved. On the other hand, it is of course to protect minors, but we should also fine tune and keep pace with the times, and talk about protection without punishment. Whats more, when minors harm minors, our existing laws are actually protecting minors who hurt others, while the injured minors become the victims of laws protecting minors. How can we solve this contradiction?
More attention should be paid to the rescue and service of victims families
On Friday, the law on the prevention of juvenile delinquency (Revised Draft) was published on the website of the peoples Congress of China to solicit public opinions. The draft divides the minors abnormal behavior into three levels: bad behavior, serious bad behavior and criminal behavior, and takes corresponding measures for different levels. At the same time, in order to solve the problem of not punishing the public security administration due to age, and at the same time, lacking correction measures, leading to the recidivism of a crime until it embarks on the road of crime, the revised draft also stipulates eight Transitional Education correction measures that can be taken by the public security organs. It is stipulated that juveniles who have serious bad behaviors or refuse to cooperate with or accept educational correction measures may be sent to special schools for correction and education.
Xi Xiaohua, executive director of Beijing Youth Social Work Research Institute, Professor of Capital Normal University: for example, when a child has general bad behavior, we should have a targeted and effective measure to follow up. If we can see from all walks of life that we are not letting go of children, but also have certain education and corrective measures and facilities to follow up, it may also calm down some of our dissatisfaction and anger.
Xi Xiaohua has been engaged in the work of youth social workers for ten years. Her team has contacted nearly 3000 juvenile delinquents, and conducted social surveys on their growth background, psychological development, etc. to provide help for education and correction. Crimes under the age of 14 are extreme cases in real life, and the number is very small. Therefore, Xi Xiaohua does not have statistical data for this group. Most of the juvenile delinquents aged 14-16 have many common behaviors, ranging from truancy, dropping out of school, fighting and fighting, to the vicious cases of stabbing people, robbing and transporting drugs, and even sexual assault and killing. This is also what many legal experts have been calling for, as soon as possible to establish a hierarchical prevention system, early intervention early intervention, reduce the probability of the final crime.
PI Yijun, director of the center for research on juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice, Professor of China University of political science and Law: criminal policy should be strict but not strict. We should not let go of small things, violations of rules and ethics, and deal with that matter seriously, which is called strict. Strict but not severe, severe is severe punishment, is to greatly expand the intensity of punishment. If we grasp the front-end, juvenile justice at the back-end will not go into a heavy punishment doctrine, the heavier the better, and will not enter such a logic.
During the deliberation of the draft, the members had a heated discussion, but there was a very clear consensus among them, that is, to prevent minors from sliding into illegal crimes to the maximum extent. To strengthen the responsibility of family guardianship, enrich the responsibility of school housekeeper, and promote the wide participation of the society, especially to timely and effectively stop the correction of deviant behaviors, we need not only the legal responsibility, but also the whole society to form a joint force.
Xi Xiaohua expects that the revised law on the prevention of juvenile delinquency will make clear the direction and enable young social workers to provide more professional help to juvenile groups, not only to participate in the education and treatment of juvenile delinquency, but also to provide help to juvenile victims and their families.
Xi Xiaohua, executive director of Beijing Youth Social Work Research Institute, Professor of Capital Normal University: our social work professional services should not only pay attention to the education and correction of criminal minors, but also pay attention to the rescue and service of victims families. For example, there should be a professional service force to pay attention to the current situation of the family. For example, what are the psychological, emotional, and even economic dilemmas. Some victims may also become a risk factor if they do not pay attention in time.
Li Han, deputy director of Beijing surmount Youth Social Work Office: the basic goal of victim assistance is two, the first is to protect his rights and interests; the second is to promote the recovery of his social functions. The first is that he understands that its not my fault that this happened to me; the second is that the person who violated him has received the punishment and education he should have, and he wont hurt other people any more, which will make the victim feel that I have experienced these pains, which has some value, so these are two very important factors.
Under the guidance of the judiciary, many provinces and cities began to explore the follow-up of the services for minors and their families. However, compared with other social justice services, victims services are more difficult, more professional, and the number of them is not too much. However, only by emphasizing the follow-up of the victim relief services and the continuous attention and protection of the victims family, can social equity be truly realized, so that both the perpetrators and the victims, who are minors, can get their due dignity.
A specific case to promote the progress of law, whether in China or in the world, are common. For example, the case of Sun Zhigang ended the system of reception and repatriation. The case of minors harming minors in Dalian is also likely to be an important driving force for China to prevent and punish juvenile crimes. But at the same time of legal adjustment and keeping pace with the times, there is a bottom line that is unbreakable. The society should protect and care for minors as always. Its the method, not the right direction, that needs to change.