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China pledges more tolerance for juvenile offenders

(Xinhua)

08:13, October 30, 2012

BEIJING, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- China's top procuratorate authority on Monday disclosed a guideline toward more favorable prosecution policies for juvenile offenders.

Procuratorates at all levels should further refine their work mechanisms on juvenile offenders and "do their utmost" to reduce arrests, charges and imprisonments under the law, according to a statement issued by the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) on Monday.

The statement reviewed China's newly amended Criminal Procedure Law, which is scheduled to enter into effect at the start of next year, and called for efforts in meeting its new requirements.

The amendment introduces a new chapter on juvenile crimes and special articles such as "conditionally dropping charges against non-serious juvenile offenders" and "sealing juvenile records."

Improved mechanisms should be put in place to facilitate the new policies, such as reviewing evidence on the necessity of an arrest, said the SPP statement.

A recent white paper on judicial reform said that China combines punishment and protection to help juvenile offenders and does the utmost to rehabilitate them and reintegrate them into society under the principle of "education, persuasion and rehabilitation."

An amendment to China's Criminal Law promulgated in 2011 makes clear the conditions under which probation is applicable to a minor. It also stipulates that juvenile offenders do not constitute recidivists.

From 2002 to 2011, the rate of recidivism of China's juveniles remained at 1 percent to 2 percent, according to the white paper published on Oct. 9, which also reported drops in cases of juvenile delinquency and in the proportion of juvenile offenders among the total criminal population.
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