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Education May Be Better than Reducing Age of Detention

New law proposes allowing teens of 14 to be detained as the rate of juvenile delinquency is increasing, but other approaches may be more effective

By Zhang Qingchen Updated Jun.12

China is proposing to reduce the age at which children can be put into administrative detention from 16 to 14, according to a revised draft of the Security Administration Punishment Law, reported the Legal Daily.  

China has three categories of detention: administrative, criminal and judicial.  
The age reduction for detention is mostly related to the increasing rate of juvenile delinquency, said Zhu Changjun, a commentator for the news portal Guangming Daily.  

Supporters say that it is necessary to reduce the age threshold for administrative detention, because school bullying is frequent now, but punishments are too light and therefore have no deterrent effect.

However, opponents say most teenagers are in a rebellious period, so there is no need to mete out heavy punishment.   

Zhu commented that both sides of the argument have merit, but there should be effective balance between punishment and protection.  

In addition to administrative detention, China should think more about how to establish and improve the systems of prevention, correction, and education, Zhu said. This is a prominent shortcoming in the way minors are dealt with now, so it may be more urgent to deal with these aspects rather than reduce the age of detention.