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Young offenders given second chance thanks to fewer prosecutions

Updated: 2016-05-27 20:11
By CAO YIN (chinadaily.com.cn)

The number of young offenders who were not prosecuted for light offenses has been increasing in recent years, as prosecutors were asked to pay more attention to education while handling youngsters' crimes, China's top prosecuting body said on Friday.

Latest statistics released by the Supreme People's Procuratorate show that more than 50,000 young offenders were not prosecuted from 2003 to 2015.

Prosecutors nationwide have been required to highlight education while dealing with cases involving youth instead of only relying on punishments, in a move to better protect youngsters, Shi Weizhong, a prosecutor of the top prosecuting body, said at a press conference on Friday.

"Under the requirement, the number of young criminals who have been exempted from being charged has been going up and the problem of young recidivists has also been alleviated," Shi said.

The reduction of prosecution for young people was also highlighted in a new Criminal Procedure Law, effective since January 2013.

Under the revised law, prosecuting authorities should have a period ranging from six months to one year to probe young offenders as they decide not to prosecute them.

In the period, the youngsters should receive correction or education in communities, and report their activities to prosecutors in charge of their cases, the law said.

From 2013 to 2015, more than 11,000 young offenders were prosecuted in line with the law, the statistics show.

The revised law also requires prosecutors to conduct surveys as tackling minor cases, as well as to help young people apply for legal aid and remove themselves from the criminal record.

Wang Songmiao, spokesman of the top prosecuting body, said that such moves have contributed a lot to protecting the youth and will positively impact their future.

For example, prosecutors surveyed more than 60,000 youngsters between 2013 and 2015 and put away the criminal records of more than 120,000 young people at the same time, Wang added.

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