(Photo: China Daily)
The Ministry of Public Security will launch a sixth-month special campaign to crack down on sexual harassment against minors next year, the ministry has announced.
Gong Zhiyong, deputy director of the ministry's criminal investigation bureau, said that public security bureaus at all levels will investigate all kinds of sexual assault cases in a timely manner, coordinate resources and thoroughly solve all backlogged cases as soon as possible.
According to Gong, public security bureaus will also work with prosecutors and other authorities to establish a pilot action called "onestop deposition", an evidence collection procedure, in some regions.
Prosecutors and representatives of criminal investigation departments and public security bureaus will converge at the scene of a crime after receiving a report, Gong said. The idea is for them to carry out an investigation and offer psychological care and privacy protection to juvenile victims in an effort to prevent them from experiencing the crime again, he said.
Gong added they will also strengthen intelligence and closely track key suspects to prevent sexual assaults against minors by using a database of criminals who have a record of such crimes.
Such a database has already been put into place in Shanghai, Chongqing, and the provinces of Guizhou and Sichuan, a result of joint efforts made by provincial prosecutors and police in a bid to promote a long-term mechanism to punish and prevent crimes against minors, according to Shi Weizhong, director of the ninth prosecutorial department of the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
The database will enable employers whose work requires close contact with juveniles to check the records so that they can avoid recruiting criminals who have sexually assaulted minors.
Shi said their efforts to crack down on crimes against children in recent years have been fruitful.
From January 2018 to October 2019, prosecutors across the country approved 80,600 arrests and charged 100,700 suspects involved in crimes against minors. The number of arrests and prosecutions in 2018 increased by 18 percent and 7 percent, respectively, year-on-year. Those respective numbers in the first 10 months of this year have increased by 23 percent and 29 percent year-on-year.
Prosecutors have firmly targeted some major crimes against minors, including the cases of Zhao Zewei in Mizhi county, Shaanxi province, who killed nine students in a knife attack in April 2018, and Han Jihua in Huludao, Liaoning province, who plowed his car into students and killed six in November 2018. The prosecutors in those cases issued arrest warrants, filed lawsuits and obtained the death penalty for both suspects.
In addition, prosecutors also paid special attention to sexual assaults and gangs who coerced minors to join them and participate in criminal activities. They also promoted judicial protection in issues of school bullying, drugs and cybercrimes.
"Children's healthy growth is related to the future of the country and national revival," Shi said. "The SPP will continue to enhance legal supervision and strive to provide more comprehensive judicial protection for minors."