Too Young to Lock Up?

Debating whether the age of criminal responsibility in China should be lowered

COUNTERPOINT: We pose a question and let the experts battle it out.

According to Article 17 of China’s Criminal Law, a person under the age of 14 old cannot be held criminally liable for the crime they commit. However, a person between the ages of 14 and 16 can bear criminal liability for serious crimes such as intentional injury, rape, robbery, drug trafficking, and arson. Some are calling for the age of criminal responsibility to be lowered, while others find it unjust to do so.

Dr. Wang Wenhua, Professor of Law, Vice Dean of the School of Law at Beijing Foreign Studies University, Member of the council of Chinese Criminal Law Society

In the last several years, juvenile delinquency has been on the rise, and as it appears more frequently in the public eye, the types of crimes have become more diverse. The criminal methods are sophisticated, and the extent of violence is increasing. In view of such a situation, there is a groundswell of support for the idea of lowering the age of criminal responsibility. Supporters think that it acts as a deterrent while opponents think it enlarges the scope of the law and labels kids as criminals.

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Too Young to Lock Up? is a story from our issue, “Taobao Town.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.


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