September 15, 2014, Yunnan Province Politics and Law Committee held a conference in Kunming City around around “Yunnan Province Juvenile Justice Programming”. Attendees included relevant officials from the provincial Committee for the Wellbeing of the Youth, Youth League Committee, the Procuratorate, the Department of Public Security, the People's Court, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Civil Affairs, etc., and relevant governmental officials from 14 prefectures/municipalities and 25 counties/cities/districts in the province. Staff from Save the Children's Youth Justice Project were also invited to attend the conference.
The remarkable experience and outcomes of the Youth Justice Project, implemented by Save the Children in Yunnan since 2002 were applauded at the conference by governmental partners, and for the first time it has been determined that juvenile justice protection will be fully, systematically implemented throughout Yunnan province in a top-down manner under the leadership of the provincial Politics and Law Committee and multi-sectoral participation.
Qiao Hanrong, Executive Deputy Secretary of Yunnan Province Politics and Law Committee, Zhao Baosan, Official at Yunnan Province Committee for the Wellbeing of the Youth, and Li Ruokun, Deputy Chief Procurator of Yunnan Province Procuratorate all gave speeches successively at the conference. The speakers highlighted the key implications of promoting juvenile justice protection throughout the province, indicated the cooperation with Save the Children as a "branding" strategy for Yunnan Province, and instructed the local government departments to make coordinated, concerted efforts to develop sustainable mechanisms for juvenile protection and crime prevention under the leadership of the Politics and Law Committee and multi-sectoral collaboration.
Save the Children began exploring the Chinese juvenile justice over ten years ago. As early as 2002, Save the Children launched the judicial diversion pilot project in Panlong District, Kunming City, Yunnan Province, focusing on introducing the overseas “appropriate adult” model. The model aims to conditionally divert minors in conflict with the law from judicial procedures, enables them to gain access to bail pending trial, helping to avoid incarceration to the maximum extent possible, reducing the number of minors being sent to jails or detention centres, and allowing them to receive education, encouragement and salvation from families, schools and communities in normal social environment in order to amend themselves and return back to the right path.
In 2013, the high-profile revised Criminal Procedure Law incorporated a chapter specifically on “Minors Criminal Procedure.” It explicitly stipulates the systems of appropriate adults, conditional non-prosecution, social investigation, etc., and effectively drove the progress of juvenile justice system development.
Save the Children will continue to support the replication of juvenile justice protection model in Yunnan Province.