- A 13-year-old raped and murdered a 10-year-old, yet he doesn't need to bear criminal responsibility.
- Cai's parents never apologize for the murder and refuse to pay the fine.
- The Law on the Protection of Minors has becomes a heated topic in China in recent years.
At 3 pm on October 20, 2019, 10-year-old Qi called her mother saying that she had just finished her art class and that she was on the way home. It’s a 15-minute walk. At 3:50 pm, with still no sign of her daughter, Mrs.Wang went out to look for her with family members. At around 7 pm, they found Qi in a bush a few hundred meters away from home, covered in blood and pants off.
The police reacted quickly because they know it will soon be in the national spotlight. When they followed the blood to an apartment nearby, they found Mrs. Zhuang mopping the blood off the floor. With no way to deny the facts, the police arrested her 13-year-old son, Cai, who confessed later that night of raping and murdering Qi.
As expected, the case went viral after the police announced it on October 24, 2019. Since Cai was not yet 14 years old, according to The Criminal Law of the PRC, he didn’t need to bear any criminal responsibility. After staying up to three years in a government-run rehabilitation camp, he would come out as a citizen without any criminal record.
People online complained how The Law on the Protection of Minors has become an excuse for the minors to commit crimes. Cai sent several messages in his class group on Wechat, pretending to be a normal bystander. When the police started to suspect him, he said in the group that the police were being hasty and that he’s just a kid.
Also, they criticized Cai’s mother for spoiling him. Cai, 6 feet 7″ (170 cm) and 154 lbs. (70 kg), had been harassing females nearby for a while. However, whenever someone accused him of harassment to Mrs. Zhuang, she just kept ignoring them and protecting Cai.
Also, Mrs. Zhuang met Mrs. Wang twice when she was looking for Qi. Mrs. Zhuang even asked if she’d found Qi, pretending nothing had happened.
On August 10, 2020, Cai was sentenced to three years in the rehabilitation camp and his parents needed to pay Qi’s family $192,000 within the following ten days. No one from Cai’s family attended the sentence. On October 9, 2020, Qi’s parents sued Cai’s parents for refusing to pay the fine, who are now in custody and whose house might be auctioned soon.
In 2004, 13-year-old Zhao raped a 14-year-old girl named Ming. He was released for being under fourteen. A week later, Zhao broke into Ming’s house and murdered Ming’s mother in front of her. Still, he only stayed a year and a half in the rehabilitation camp.
In 2018, a 13-year-old girl dismembered her classmate because she was prettier than her. Her family paid $16,000 and she didn’t get any punishment.
Similar cases happen all the time. People are pleading for an amendment of the criminal law. “He’s just a kid” is cruel to the victims they argue. Such tolerance not only doesn’t make the minors realize their fault, but places an invisible time bomb among us.