Beijing [China], March 18 (ANI): The debate in Chinese society over whether the criminal responsibility age should be lowered has renewed once again following the alleged murder of a six-year-old boy by a 13-year-old.
According to The Star, the younger boy, surnamed Wang, went missing in Mianxian township in Shaanxi province on February 17 and his body was found on March 4.
China has amended its juvenile criminal law, which took effect on March 1, thus bringing offenders as young as 12 under criminal punishment.
The amended law stipulates that children aged 12 to 14 will now be held criminally liable for intentional homicide or intentional injury that leads to death or severe disability through "extremely cruel means".
The amendment was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislative body, in December last year.
Under the amendment, the age of criminal responsibility will remain unchanged at 16. However, juveniles aged 14 to 16 will also face criminal punishment if they commit crimes such as intentional homicide, intentional injury, rape or aggravated robbery.
Meanwhile, special circumstances have not yet been specified. It will be reviewed by the Supreme People's Court on a case-by-case basis and such prosecutions will have to be approved by the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
The move to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility in special circumstances has shocked the nation and triggered widespread concern. (ANI)