A staff member interacts with students during an "open day" activity held by the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) in Beijing, capital of China, May 30, 2021. Two newly revised laws directly linked to children's welfare took effect on June 1, the International Children's Day, to provide Chinese minors with better protection both at school and home, online and offline. [Photo/Xinhua]
State Council leading group issues guideline on judicial improvements
China has stepped up efforts to promote judicial protection of children, with more than 1,800 juvenile tribunals set up in courts nationwide by the end of last month to strengthen juvenile protection and crime prevention, an official from China's top court said on Tuesday.
The State Council's leading group for the protection of minors issued a guideline on Sunday that called for their enhanced protection in six areas: family, school, society, the internet, government, and the judiciary.
The document said the development of juvenile tribunals, which deal with criminal, civil and administrative cases, should be strengthened.
In trials of cases involving minors, courts should give priority to their protection and offer services such as psychological counseling and judicial assistance to help them, it said.
In March, the Supreme People's Court set up an office focused on improving the work of juvenile tribunals and hearings of juvenile-related cases as part of a judicial move to improve the protection and development of minors.
Zhou Jiahai, deputy head of the court's research office, said courts at all levels have taken steps on juvenile protection, and the work of juvenile tribunals has entered a period of rapid development.
The court will further strengthen special and priority judicial protection for minors and severely punish all types of criminal offenses against minors, he said. Meanwhile, the approach to juveniles who commit crimes will emphasize education, rehabilitation and rescue.
"Targeted research on hot issues such as sexual assault, abuse of minors and school violence will be strengthened, and we will issue judicial interpretations, unveil typical cases and clarify the adjudication standards at the appropriate time to ensure every case is heard and sentenced impartially," Zhou said.
In trials of civil and administrative cases involving the rights and interests of minors, the court will offer them all-around judicial protection, he said.
From 2016 to last year, Chinese courts punished 24,386 criminals who harmed juveniles, including those involved in child molestation or abduction or who organized children to beg, according to statistics from the top court.
The guideline said that in handling cases of sexual assault or violent injury to minors, investigators should implement "one-stop" evidence collection to avoid secondary damage to the victims, and make audio and video recordings when questioning minors who are the victims of sexual assault.