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Report: Juvenile Sex Crimes on the Rise
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A report released by Beijing Haidian District People's Court, after analyzing sexual violation cases the court handled from 2002 to the first half of 2007, shows that the number of such cases committed by young people is increasing in waves. Wrongdoers are mainly aged 16 or 17, and most were brought before the court on charges of rape.

The report says the majority of juvenile sexual offenders have a low level of education. Some 70 percent only received an education of junior secondary school or below. The report also found that 60 percent of the perpetrators came from divorced or re-built families.

A recent case is that two young boys, "Xiao Gang" and "Xiao Lin," aged 17 and 16, who were sentenced to seven and five years in jail after being charged of gang-raping "Xiao Hua," a 12-year-old girl.

Han Xiaofei, a judge with the Juvenile Court under Mentougou District People's Court, said failure in family education was the major cause of the crime; both of the boys come from broken families.

After his parents divorced when he was five years old, Xiao Gang, now 16, lived together with his mother, where he was repeatedly beaten by his stepfather. In the third primary grade, he dropped out of school, and loitered in net cafes and pool bars. When he was 14, he was jailed one year for robbery. Three months after he was released, he was taken away again for a year and a half education-through-labor program because he provoked fights and quarrels in a pool bar; the rape occurred just two months after he was released from that program.

Xiao Lin's situation is no better than Xiao Gang's. When he was eight, his parents divorced, and his mother never visited him, nor gave him a penny of alimony. He cut classes and went to net cafes, chatting, playing games and looking at porn websites.

On the day of the crime, Xiao Hua quarreled with her mother because she was criticized for staying out late in net cafes. She ran away from home and went to a net café, where she met Xiao Lin and Xiao Gang. They invited Xiao Hua to go out and then raped her.

The report says 90 percent of the offenders had read pornographic books, watched porn videos, or visited porn websites, which had greatly motivated the crime.

The report also suggests three measures for the prevention of sexual crimes by young people. First, parents should bear in mind that supervising and educating their children is their responsibility and obligation. Parents' supervision plays an important role in children's development. Second, schools should improve sex education and promote knowledge of the law. Third, government departments should intensify the supervision of the cultural market, eliminate pornographic publications, and spare no efforts to crack down on porn websites to create a healthy environment for children.

All names of minors in the article have been changed to protect their privacy.

(China.org.cn by Zhang Yunxing, September 14, 2007)

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