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3 Minors To Face Criminal Trial In China For Murder

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In a case that has ignited widespread shock and debate across China, three minors are set to be tried for the alleged murder of a fellow middle-school student, according to statements made by a provincial prosecutor on Monday.

The suspects, who were under 14 years old at the time of the crime, are accused of engaging in prolonged bullying of the victim, identified only by the surname Wang, culminating in his death last month.

The case, marked by its harrowing details—including the allegation that Wang's body was concealed within an abandoned greenhouse—has thrown a spotlight on the Chinese legal system's handling of juveniles charged with grave offenses.

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This trial comes in the wake of a 2021 legal reform in China that lowered the age of criminal responsibility to 12 for offenses deemed exceptionally heinous, including those resulting in death through “extremely cruel means.”

The trial of the suspects, surnamed Zhang, Li, and Ma, marks one of the first applications of this revised age threshold.

Following a request from the police last month, the provincial prosecutor's office has announced its decision to move forward with a criminal trial against the three minors.

The office detailed its findings, stating, “The suspects intentionally committed murder, leading to the death of victim Wang. Given the severity of the circumstances, they are to be held criminally accountable.”

This declaration underscores the government's resolve to address juvenile delinquency with a strict yet careful legal approach.

“While ensuring that cases are processed strictly in accordance with the law, the procuratorial organs will amplify efforts to prevent and mitigate juvenile crimes,” the office conveyed.

In China, the crime of murder can result in sentences ranging from imprisonment to the death penalty.

The announcement from the provincial prosecutor emphasises the legal and ethical challenges confronting the nation as it grapples with the question of how young offenders should be treated under the law, especially in instances involving extreme violence.


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