Status, Issues, and Challenges of Chinese Juvenile Justice

AuthorHongwei Zhang,Ni “Phil” He
Published date01 May 2018
Date01 May 2018
Subject MatterArticles
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2018, Vol. 34(2) 219 –229
© The Author(s) 2018
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DOI: 10.1177/1043986218766115
Status, Issues, and
Challenges of Chinese
Juvenile Justice
Hongwei Zhang1 and Ni “Phil” He2
Given the size of China’s juvenile population and the rapid social transformation in
recent decades, researchers and policy makers are paying increased attention to
juvenile justice–related issues. This article begins with an overview of the Chinese
juvenile justice national data, followed by an in-depth discussion on the principles
and mixed influences, and the unique juvenile justice process in China. Drawing upon
the accumulated research on the subject matter, we highlight the most significant
challenges such as rising crime among migrant youth, reforms within the criminal
justice agencies, and issues of legitimacy facing the Chinese juvenile justice system
today. Recommendations are made for future research and policy.
Chinese juvenile justice, legitimacy, reform, balanced justice
China is the world’s most populous country and the second largest economy as of
2017. Among its 1.35 billion population, nearly 279 million are juveniles below 18
years of age (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2012). Because of its dazzling
economic growth, increasing global influence, and distinctive historical, cultural, and
political context, China is viewed as “a strategic site for developing criminological
knowledge” (Liu, 2007, p. 7). Several recent observations of Chinese juvenile crimes
are worth noting, such as the trend toward younger age of offenders, the growing
1Jinan University, Zhuhai, China
2Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA
Corresponding Author:
Ni “Phil” He, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Northeastern University, Boston,
MA 02115, USA.
766115CCJXXX10.1177/1043986218766115Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticeZhang and He

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