Courts told to increase attention to children's safety
Courts have been ordered to intensify penalties for crimes against juveniles and undertake legal studies on school bullying and child abuse to further strengthen judicial protection of children.
"Every court must uphold juvenile protection as a priority when handling cases related to minors, and dispense heavier punishments without mercy to offenders who damage the children," said Jiang Qibo, director of the Research Office under the Supreme People's Court.
Jiang made the remark over the weekend as the top court released 10 major cases to highlight the increased judicial protection of juveniles.
In a case in Henan province, a kindergarten teacher surnamed Ma was detained in 2017 for injuring children's hands and arms with needlelike instruments. She was recently sentenced to two years in prison for child abuse and barred from teaching children for five years.
The punishment was tough, as the maximum prison term for the offense under Chinese Criminal Law is three years, and the longest education ban is five years, a statement from the Supreme People's Court said.
In another case, a man surnamed Jiang was sentenced to 11 years in prison after he acted indecently through video chat toward 31 children from May 2015 to November 2016.
"He didn't touch those minors, but his behavior seriously damaged their mental health," said Zhou Jiahai, deputy director of the top court's research office.
"The penalty presented our 'zero tolerance' approach against such offenders."
Meanwhile, some court rulings relating to juveniles had greater significance, "as they became the legal basis of guidelines or even promoted legislation," Zhou said.
In December 2014, for instance, the top court, with the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, jointly issued a guideline on guardians, which came after a court revoked the guardianship of a single mother for assaulting her son in 2013.
"A ban given by a Hunan provincial court to a father to prevent him abusing his daughter also promoted the protection order written into the law against domestic violence in 2015," Zhou said.
In addition, the top court said motions and suggestions to prevent school bullying and sexual abuse of children were raised more frequently by political advisers and legislators in recent years.
"We've required courts across the country to do more research on these issues," Zhou said.
"We'll find better solutions from cases and refine them."