BEIJING, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- China's Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) on Monday stressed measures to protect the privacy of juvenile criminal defendants and other minors involved in criminal cases.
The SPP last week issued a revised version of a regulation on prosecutors' handling of criminal cases that involve juveniles, highlighting the "special protection" of juvenile criminal defendants, the SPP said in a statement.
According to the new regulation, names, residences and photos of minors implicated in criminal cases, as well as other information that implies their identity, should not be made public.
Juveniles' reputations should be protected and their personal dignity should be respected, the regulation said.
The unnecessary leaking of related information should also be avoided during social investigations of juvenile defendants, it said.
The regulation said the major target in handling juvenile offenses should be to educate the offender, while punishment should only be used as a supplementary instrument.
The regulation also instructed procuratorates at provincial and city levels to set special tribunals or panels to deal with juvenile cases, and prosecutors in charge of such cases should receive special training to acquaint them with criminological, sociological and psychological knowledge, as well as the physical and mental traits of young people.
The "special protection" principle requires prosecutors to handle a specific case in a manner that best suits juveniles, said Chen Guoqing, director the SPP's legal policy research office.
The regulation pledges to guarantee the juvenile defendants' defending rights, and the social investigation reports could be used as a reference in handling the cases, Chen said.
Chen said criminal records of juvenile convicts should be kept strictly confidential so that youths can be accepted by society quickly after rehabilitation without facing discrimination.
Psychological counseling and tests may also be used, but only with the consent of the juvenile defendants and their legal representatives, the researcher said.
The regulation also demanded better protection of the rights and interests of minor victims in criminal cases and that aid be provided for them if needed.
The involvement of a boy surnamed Li, the son of a prominent Chinese singer, in a gang rape case last year stirred public anger and discussion.
However, some legal experts also criticized the media's excessive coverage of the boy's personal information as improper since the defendant is only 17 years old.