A report compiled last year by a juvenile court in Beijing, using data from the previous eight years, suggested that the average age of juvenile offenders – those aged between 14 and 18 – had been getting lower.
Research in 2014 by the China Youth and Children Research Centre suggested that 14-year-olds accounted for 20 per cent of all juvenile offenders, up 8 per cent from the figure in 2001, Jinghua Times reported in 2015.
Li Chunsheng, an expert in minor protection law from Hubei Lawyers Association, said the age of criminal responsibility should be lowered to 12 because children’s mental maturity was becoming accelerated and many juvenile offenders were showing similar cognitive ability to adults, China Youth Daily reported.
Other legal and youth protection experts, and members of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, expressed similar opinions at a consultation meeting last year about minor protection law, the report said.
The girl’s mother expressed her disappointment last Tuesday on Weibo, China’s Twitter, over the handling of the case, getting more than 17,000 reposts and over 9,400 comments, reported the newspaper.
“If the law protects underage criminals, who can protect my young daughter?” the mother was quoted as saying in the report.
A local police inspector, surnamed Liu, said that it was left to parents to discipline their children but that police could request them to be sent to government rehabilitation if parents agreed, according to the China Youth Daily report.
Liu said the boy’s father had refused to send him to rehabilitation and the two sides had been discussing compensation out of court, although had not reached agreement, the newspaper reported.