China lowers age of criminal responsibility to 12 from 14

China lowers age of criminal responsibility to 12 from 14

China has lowered the age of criminal responsibility to 12 from 14 in an apparent response to a rise in the proportion of juvenile crime being committed by younger children.

According to the amendment to the criminal law, which was passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) on Saturday, those aged between 12 and 14, will bear criminal responsibility if they “commit intentional homicide, intentionally hurt another person so as to cause death, or severely injure others by resorting to especially cruel means”.

The amendment will take effect on March 1 and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate will be responsible for deciding if a case is worth prosecuting, according to a statement from the NPC.

“This is a small adjustment with careful considerations, strict restrictions and preconditions,” Wang Aili, an expert in criminal law with the legal affairs committee of the NPC, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.