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August 12 2013

China's Rule Sealing Juvenile Records May be Revised

China's top prosecuting authority said it is looking into revising a regulation that limits access to juvenile criminal records, a move that many attorneys have called for. According to Han Yaoyuan, director of legal policy research for the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the authority is aware of the difficulties in enforcing the rules and is collecting suggestions. If it happens, legal experts say it could pave the way to changing a similar article in the Criminal Procedure Law that has caused confusion due to nonspecific language. The debate focuses on rules about sealing the criminal records of minors, which came into effect with the revised Criminal Procedure Law on Jan 1. Many prosecutors have complained that they were confused about how to carry it out. Under the original law, the criminal records of people under 18 can be sealed if the sentence is less than five years. The article aims to better protect juveniles' rights, but it does not clearly define the legal organs or related departments that can access the files, said Zheng Ruizhi, a prosecutor in Beijing's Dongcheng district.