13-year-old boy believed to have killed a 6-year-old child in NW China's Shaanxi, triggering public discussion on his criminal responsibility
Published: Mar 15, 2021 04:48 AM
A picture of the six-year-old boy Chengcheng Photo: Modern Express Post

The six-year-old boy Chengcheng Photo: Modern Express Post

The body of a 6-year-old boy, Chengcheng (pseudonym), was found in a wooden box on the roof of a neighbor's house 15 days after he went missing in Mianxian county, Hanzhong city, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, on March 4. A 13-year-old junior high school student surnamed Yang is the main suspect, the Yangtse Evening Post reported.

Mianxian Public Security Bureau did not release details of the case, saying it would make a public announcement at an appropriate time.

The case has sparked a hot discussion on China's social media over whether the 13-year-old should bear criminal responsibility.

According to the Yangtse Evening Post, on the night of February 17, Chengcheng's father, Wang Ping, reported his son's disappearance to local police more than two hours after losing contact with his son.

Wang posted about his missing son on various online platforms and put up flyers in the area. Many Chinese netizens reposted Wang's information online to help look for the child. The Ministry of Public Security's Emergency Information Platform for Missing Children also released information about the search for Chengcheng.

However, 15 days after Chengcheng's disappearance, local police found the child's body in a wooden box on the roof of a neighbor's house on March 4. Wang Ping and his wife then saw their son's body at a funeral home and found his body covered in multiple bruises.

At noon, on March 12, a woman who claimed to be Chengcheng's mother, posted an article saying her son's death, by a 13-year-old junior high school student who crept into his house and hid his body for 15 days, was premeditated. The killer used very vicious methods to kill, as seen from the body. It is difficult to express the devastation and pain the child had suffered, the Yangtse Evening Post reported.

However, Wang Ping told the Yangtse Evening Post that he does not know how and why his son was killed. The cause of his son's death is still under investigation by the police.

In China, the age of criminal responsibility for intentional homicide has been changed, from 14 to 12 since March 1, according to the Amendment to the Criminal Law, as the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

Fu Jian, a lawyer of Henna Yulong Law Firm, told the Yangtse Evening Post that 13-year-old Yang may evade criminal responsibility if he killed Chengcheng before March 1. If Yang killed the boy after March 1, he could be prosecuted for his criminal responsibility according to the new amendment to the Criminal Law.

Most Chinese netizens voiced their opinions on Yang's criminal responsibility for his cruel killing on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

"The 13-year-old boy is capable of killing a six-year-old child. Why can't he take criminal responsibility?" a netizen commented.

"I believe in the police and the court will give Wang's poor family a fair answer. Let's look forward to the police publishing details of the case first," another one wrote.