China will now hold children as young as 12 years old criminally liable for crimes deemed “abominable”. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Saturday also introduced punishment for intellectual property infringement that could lead to 10 years in prison.
The Standing Committee said an “abominable” crime would occur
“if a person who has reached 12 years of age but not 14 commits intentional homicide, intentionally hurts another person so as to cause death of the person, or by resorting to especially cruel means, causes severe injury to the person, reducing the person to utter disability, shall bear criminal responsibility if the Supreme People’s Procuratorate decides to prosecute the crime after examination.”
The amendment adds that children aged 14 to 16 can be criminally liable for serious crimes such as murder, rape or drug smuggling.
Lastly, the amendments made by the NPC create more significant criminal penalties for infringement of intellectual property rights, making the maximum prison term seven to 10 years for trademark and copyright infringement. The law creates penalties for illegally implanting gene-edited or cloned human embryos into humans or animals. These are some of the first and by far most substantial changes to China’s attempts to stop intellectual property theft.
The amendments will go in to effect on March 1.