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China Bans Sex Offenders from Working Near Minors

Sun, 31 Jan 2021
Categories: Insights

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China is taking measures to prevent minors from being sexually abused, one of which is to prohibit sex offenders from working near minors.

China has enacted laws to place employment restrictions on sex offenders. Chinese local authorities are trying to adopt practices similar to those of the U.S. Megan’s Law.

1. Legislation

A. Criminal background check before employment 

In October 2020, China promulgated the latest revision of the Law on the Protection of Minors (未成年人保护法), which explicitly requires that employers that have close contact with minors should check their staff’s violent criminal background, particularly sex crimes. 

According to Article 62 of the Law on the Protection of Minors, employers should make a background check at the job application, and make regular checks after employment to ensure that none of their staff is involved in sex crimes.

This is the first time for China to explicitly impose restrictions in the law on sex offenders from specific professions that are close to minors.

B. Restrictions on professions such as teachers and physicians with previous sexual assault on minors

China’s Criminal Law has also established a system of profession prohibition. According to Article 37 (a) of the Criminal Law, “When persons commit offences by taking advantage of their profession, or by breaching the specific duties of such profession and penalties have been imposed, the People’s Court may ban such persons from engaging in relevant professions.” Therefore, criminals (such as teachers and physicians) who use their profession to contact and sexually abuse minors will be prohibited from engaging in relevant professions.

C. Profession prohibition and activity restriction on sex offenders during probation

In 2013, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP), the Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of Justice jointly promulgated the Opinions on Punishing Crimes of Sexual Assault on Minors according to the Law (关于依法惩治性侵害未成年人犯罪的意见), Article 28 of which stipulates that if a criminal who sexually assaults a minor is sentenced to a suspended sentence after being found guilty, an injunction can be imposed on them to prohibit them from engaging in jobs and activities related to minors during the probation period, as well as from entering primary and secondary schools, kindergartens and other places where minors are crowded.

D. Restrictions on obtaining the qualification of teachers and physicians

Sex offenders are not allowed to obtain the teacher qualification and will be deprived of such qualification they have obtained. According to Article 14 of the Law on Teachers (教师法), “Those who are deprived of political rights or who commit intentional crimes and are subject to fixed-term imprisonment or worse cannot obtain the teacher qualification.” According to the Teacher Qualification Regulation (教师资格条例), “Teachers who have bad conduct, insult students and cause bad influence will be disqualified.”

Sex offenders are not allowed to obtain the physician qualification. According to Article 16 of the Law on Medical Practitioners (执业医师法), “If a physician is subject to criminal punishment after registered as a physician, the administrative department of health shall cancel the registration and withdraw the medical practitioner certificate.

2. Attempts of local governments: disclosing the personal information of sex offenders

Two local governments in China have tried to make public the personal information of criminals who have sexually assaulted minors.

A. Cixi mode(慈溪模式)

In 2016, the procuratorate, the court, the public security bureau and the judicial bureau of Cixi City, Zhejiang Province jointly promulgated the Implementation Measures for the Disclosure of Information on Persons Who Sexually Assaulted Minors (性侵害未成年人犯罪人员信息公开实施办法) (hereinafter “the Measures”).

According to the Measures, criminals who have committed severe sexual assaults against minors and meet certain conditions, their personal information will be made public on websites, WeChat official accounts, and Weibo accounts of relevant authorities after serving their sentence or during the period of parole or probation, to prevent such criminals from re-committing such crimes and protect minors from being sexually assaulted. 

The above-mentioned “certain conditions” include (but not limited to) the circumstances of crime, the penalty imposed, the possibility of recidivism, and whether the criminal has the morbid psychology of sexual assault. Usually, only the personal information of criminals posing high personal dangerousness will be disclosed.

In addition, the duration of the information disclosure varies according to the degree of the criminal’s personal dangerousness. For criminals posing high personal dangerousness, the duration of information disclosure is five years; for criminals posing great personal dangerousness, their information is disclosed for life. 

The Cixi mode is dubbed by China’s media as China’s Megan’s Law. 

B. Huai’an mode(淮安模式)

In September 2017, nine authorities, including the court, the procuratorate, the public security bureau, and the education bureau of Huaiyin District, Huai’an City, Jiangsu Province, jointly promulgated the Employment Prohibition and Information Disclosure System of Persons Who Sexually Assaulted Minors (关于性侵害未成年人犯罪人员从业禁止及信息公开制度) (hereinafter “the System”).

According to the System, the personal information of criminals (except those under 18 years of age and sentenced to a lesser sentence than the fixed-term imprisonment) who sexually assaulted minors will be made public on websites, WeChat official accounts and Weibo accounts of judiciary authorities, one month after the entry into force of the criminal judgments.

The personal information disclosed includes the criminal’s name, identity card number, photo, age, gender, cause of the case, etc.

The procuratorate may put forward the proposal of profession prohibition at the time of prosecution, and the court shall decide whether to adopt it or not at the time of judgment. If the proposal is adopted, the offender will be prohibited from working in close contact with minors after serving their sentence or during the period of probation or parole.

It is noteworthy that the Cixi mode had been criticized at the beginning, because it violated the personal privacy of criminals, and thus no criminal’s personal information had been disclosed since its promulgation. Later on, Cixi revised its mode in 2017, which no longer disclosed such information to the public, but to specific inquirers by application under specific circumstances. Thereafter, the Huai’an mode also adopts similar practices.[1]

After the above attempts by local authorities, the Law on the Protection of Minors (2020) has also drawn on these experiences.

 

Reference:

[1] 上海市闵行区人民检察院课题组,孙静.性侵害未成年人违法犯罪人员从业禁止机制研究[J].上海公安学院学报,2019,29(05):22-28.

 

Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

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