Tod­dler at­tacker should get re­hab, law ex­perts say

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By LUO WANG­SHU in Chongqing luowang­shu@ chi­

Crim­i­nal-law ex­perts say the 10- year- old girl who bru­tally attacked a tod­dler in an el­e­va­tor in Chongqing should be sent to a ju­ve­nile de­ten­tion center to un­dergo re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

Chongqing po­lice said on Fri­day that they could not file crim­i­nal charges against the girl be­cause she is a mi­nor. The girl re­cently moved to the Xinjiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion with her mother, who made a job trans­fer to the re­gion on Dec 2.

By law, chil­dren younger than 14 years old are shielded from crim­i­nal re­spon­si­bil­ity. The law stip­u­lates that par­ents and guardians are ob­li­gated to dis­ci­pline them.

“It is nei­ther ap­pro­pri­ate for po­lice to let the case go, nor leave the girl’s dis­ci­pline to her par­ents. Ob­vi­ously, there is some­thing wrong with this fam­ily’s meth­ods of ed­u­ca­tion. She should be sent to the ju­ve­nile prison for re­hab,” said Wu Ming’an, a crim­i­nal law pro­fes­sor at the China Univer­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence and Law.

Footage from a se­cu­rity cam­era in the el­e­va­tor shows the girl at­tack­ing the boy re­peat­edly on the ride from the first to the 25th floor of the build­ing, where she lives with her par­ents.

She told po­lice that she took the boy home and beat him on the sofa in the liv­ing room. She then took him to the bal­cony to play, but the boy fell over the rail.

The boy was found on the ground out­side the apart­ment build­ing cov­ered in blood and with mul­ti­ple se­ri­ous in­juries.

Most of the de­tails of the se­quence of events af­ter the at­tack have been taken from the girl’s state­ment to the po­lice, who have not con­firmed the girl’s state­ment be­cause they will not con­duct an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Po­lice also said that the girl said in her state­ment to the po­lice that the boy fell 25 floors, though she lied about where the 18-month-old boy fell out­side the build­ing in an at­tempt to cover her story up.

Wu said no child at or younger than age 10 has ever been sent for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion in China, but made an ex­cep­tion in this case be­cause the girl showed se­ri­ously of­fen­sive be­hav­ior and vi­ciously hurt the tod­dler with in­tent.

The boy, Li Xinyuan, re­mained in the in­ten­sive care unit at Chongqing Med­i­cal Univer­sity Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal on Mon­day.

His fa­ther, Li Shengzhong, told China Daily that the tod­dler had his first meal on Sun­day af­ter­noon since the at­tack.

“The nurse fed him some por­ridge and bread,” Li said.

The boy, who has frac­tures to his skull and right eye socket, is sched­uled for surgery this week.

Wang Jian, di­rec­tor of the pub­lic­ity of­fice of Chang­shou dis­trict in Chongqing, told China Daily that the lo­cal court has ac­cepted the fam­ily’s civil case.

Dan Xing­ming, a lawyer for the boy’s fam­ily, said the fam­ily has de­manded 300,000 yuan ($ 49,400) in com­pen­sa­tion from the girl’s fam­ily. The girl’s fam­ily has al­ready paid 78,000 yuan to pay for the boy’s med­i­cal care and op­er­a­tion.

The case has trig­gered anger on the In­ter­net. Peo­ple have ques­tioned whether it is fair to let the girl go with­out any pun­ish­ment.

Wu said that more young peo­ple are com­mit­ting crimes and added that ex­perts dis­cussed re­duc­ing the age thresh­old for chil­dren who are shielded from crim­i­nal re­spon­si­bil­ity for se­ri­ous crimes.

“It is more dif­fi­cult for a child to change or make a bet­ter life af­ter be­ing la­beled as a crim­i­nal at a young age. So our law en­cour­ages ed­u­ca­tion in­stead of pun­ish­ment,” Wu said.

Song Yan­hui, a fac­ulty mem­ber at the China Youth Univer­sity for Po­lit­i­cal Sciences who spe­cial­izes in adolescent vi­o­lence, said the at­tack was a tragedy.

Though Song be­lieved it is too early to an­a­lyze the girl’s men­tal con­di­tion and mo­ti­va­tion be­cause in­for­ma­tion is lim­ited, she said most chil­dren who com­mit crimes are af­fected by their fam­ily and schools.

“In most cases, chil­dren have lim­ited ac­cess to so­ci­ety, fam­ily and school. Th­ese are the main fac­tors that cause their be­hav­ior prob­lems,” she said.

“What­ever the rea­sons and mo­ti­va­tions are, we are mak­ing as­sump­tions right now based on lim­ited in­for­ma­tion. But a child’s prob­lems will make so­ci­ety think and re­flect. In this case, both kids are vic­tims,” she said.

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