China’s Supreme Court on Wednesday assured uncompromising, harsh sentences, including the death penalty, for those who use violence against children. The statements followed the execution of two child murderers and two serial rapists. „We punish and will continue to punish people who harm minors, especially those who take positions of trust, such as teachers who do something to students,“ an official of the First Criminal Division of the Supreme People’s Court said in a written statement from the court. „We will also impose the death penalty if an offense is extremely serious,“ said the official, who remained anonymous.
The Supreme Court named the four executed men as Chen Yuzhang, Pan Yonggui, Xu Chuanyun, and Yang Shengsong. The executions were carried out after their sentences had been reviewed and approved by the Supreme People’s Court. Yang, who was from Guizhou Province, killed two children in 2016 by hitting a brick against their head. Xu from Sichuan Province raped and killed a 10-year-old girl in 2015, according to the Supreme Court statement. Both were sentenced to death by a local court for deliberate killing.
In the other two cases, both offenders were sentenced to death by lower-level tribunals for rape. Chen was a teacher at a primary school in Nanjian Town, Yunnan Province, and had raped a total of 14 girls between September 2012 and September 2015. All victims except one were under 14 years old, and six were raped dozens of times, according to the statement. Pan, a resident of Mile, Yunnan, was a gang who raped 19 women, including 18 minors, from March to June 2014 in Mile and Mengzi. Pan herself raped twelve women, injuring a victim after jumping from a building.
„Children and adolescents are our future and must receive the best protection,“ said the official. „We will impose stricter sanctions on persons harming children.“ He called on people from all walks of life to fight such crimes and protect minors, and recommended that students strengthen their awareness of self-protection. Since 2007, all death sentences have been reviewed and approved by the country’s highest court, with the result that extreme punishment will be carefully enforced with respect for human rights.