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Draft to lower minimum age for detention gets mixed response
February 20,2017   By:Xinhua
BEIJING, Feb. 20, 2017 -- A new draft law that would change the minimum age for administrative detention from 16 to 14 has been met with both concerns of overcorrection and voices of support, albeit cautious.
 
In China, administrative detention is a punishment for violations that threaten public security but do not constitute a criminal charge, sentences usually do not exceed 20 days. People awaiting trial are sometimes held in administrative detention.
 
Currently, minors are exempt from administrative detention, however, the draft public security administration law released Friday proposed that administrative detention should be applicable for individuals "at least 14 and under 18."
 
The draft law comes in response to rising concerns about young offenders, especially those involved with bullying or violence at school. Moreover, a survey by China Youth and Children Research Center (CYCRC) in 2015 showed that juvenile offenders are getting younger.
 
Many , however, are wary about the new draft law.
 
"I don't agree with it," said Ge Haiyan, a mother in Beijing. "Children of that age are not mature enough to understand the consequences of their actions, and they are often rebellious at puberty. If we are too strict,our methods could have a negative effect."
 
Wang Tingting, another Beijing parent, said there should be a more holistic approach to punishment, as juvenile offences are influenced by home and school life.
 
"Teachers and parents should step up," Wang said.
 
Song Ruiyong, an education official in Beijing, said he was more concerned about the negative effects administrative detention has on young offenders.
 
"There is a risk that they will interact with more seasoned criminals while in detention, and they could have a negative influence on them, " Song said. "Being locked-up is an irreversible experience, especially for children."
 
He posited that youth education services would be better for young offenders.
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