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Police Drop Charges as Boy Under 12 Kills 4.5-Year-Old Girl, Sparks Legal and Moral Debate

In Hubei, Jingzhou on January 26th, the family of a 4.5-year-old girl, who was tragically killed by a boy under the age of 12, recently received a police decision to drop the case.

The boy, being under 12 at the time of the incident, is considered not criminally responsible. Authorities mentioned that he is currently undergoing correctional education. The girl’s father expressed concerns as the boy’s family lived nearby and had connections with the victim’s mother’s workplace.

According to Beijing Jinggu Law Firm, recent amendments to the Criminal Law in China have lowered the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old. Cases involving individuals under 16 may require correctional education instead of criminal punishment. The father of the deceased girl emphasized the need for the boy’s guardian to bear civil liability for the harm caused.

The incident occurred on August 30, 2023, when the boy lured the girl to an abandoned vegetable garden, ultimately leading to her death. Despite the father’s efforts to seek justice, the case was officially dropped on December 30, 2023, based on the boy’s age.

While the boy is undergoing psychological correction in a specialized institution, the father remains dissatisfied with the closure of the criminal case and is pursuing civil compensation. Legal experts suggest considering multiple perspectives in the correctional education plan, including the opinions of the victim’s family, to address the severity of the crime and ensure a fair outcome.

The case highlights the complexities arising from recent changes in China’s criminal responsibility age and the challenges in reconciling justice and the rights of both the accused and the victim’s family.

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