Courts to protect juveniles online

By Cao Yin (China Daily) Updated : 2018-06-02

Chinese courts were ordered to continue to fight against criminals who make use of the internet to harm juveniles, in order to provide children with a better online environment on June 1.

"Offenders using the internet to damage juveniles - such as those who rape children or force them to take drugs after talking with them in cyberspace - have been more frequent in our case hearings," said Jiang Qibo, head of the research office with the Supreme People's Court.

He made the remarks during a news conference on legal protection for juveniles on Children's Day, urging courts around the country to highlight the problem and conduct more legal research into the issue.

He said that misusing the internet to damage children makes up a large proportion of juvenile-related criminal cases, but he did not give an exact number.

In the last five years, lots of violent, pornographic, vulgar and false information has hit cyberspace, especially in online games, short videos, social media and live streaming, "which has greatly harmed our children as well as attracted more attention from judicial authorities", he said.

Between 2013 and 2017, courts at each level heard 8,207 criminal cases involving pornographic products, and penalized 8,680 related offenders, according to the top court.

"Children trust strangers easier and can be influenced by online information, as they are curious about everything," Jiang said. "But they have difficulties distinguishing truth from false messages and are unaware how to protect themselves."

From April to June last year, for example, a man surnamed Wang contacted three girls via instant messaging tool QQ and lured them to have naked chats in the name of finding child stars, a statement from the top court said.

When standing trial, Wang, then 20, explained he was addicted to online games filled with advertisements containing naked photos.

He was sentenced to one year and 10 months in prison for the crime of acting indecently against children.

Also on the day, the top court released a report stating that the number of juvenile criminals has been declining in the past few years, thanked to increasing protection and education from all walks of life.