Crackdown

China to make penalties for sex with underage girls harsher

A woman awaits customers from the doorway of a neon-lit barber shop in Beijing. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

After a string of high-profile sex scandals with young girls involving government officials and a school administrator, China is planning to amend its penal code to make sure that men who have sex with underage girls will receive more severe punishments. In the past, offenders who were caught having sex with girls under the age of 14 were charged with “prostitution with underage girls” — an offense that carries only a five to 15 year prison sentence and places some of the blame on the victims. The new amendment would eliminate this charge, and any sex with girls under 14 would be considered rape, which bears a much heavier social stigma and would result in much harsher legal punishments for perpetrators, including the death penalty. The policy change is strongly supported by children’s rights advocates, who believe the current law fails to protect underage girls.

Read the full story at ABC News.

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