criminal records


Still, she admitted, the practice has its critics, as some local officials, employers, and victim-support groups worry it may weaken the law's punitive function and embolden criminals.

"For juvenile offenders, our job is more to educate than to punish them," Shao said. "China has a saying: 'Once mistake and you will regret it for life.' We are about to change that."

Court authorities have yet to stipulate national standards, she noted.

During the trial period, offenders under 18 years of age and sentenced to less than three years in jail or

detention have their criminal records cleared upon serving their jail term.
Juvenile courts across China have started erasing the criminal records of some underage convicts, to prevent them from facing discrimination upon discharge from prison.

The practice, common in the West, is being trialed in China, where young people applying to enter the armed forces and some jobs are required by law to have their criminal records checked, said Shao Wenhong, a retired Supreme People's Court senior judge.

Shao, now president of the People's Court Daily, said on the sidelines of the Beijing Forum for Human Rights on Thursday that if the trial is successful, the practice will be codified into law.

"It will be a big step forward for the protection of rights in the Chinese judicial system," Shao said.
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