SAN FRANCISCO (May 25, 2010) – From May 8 to May 15, 2010, a US juvenile justice delegation organized by The Dui Hua Foundation participated in juvenile justice exchanges in Beijing and Qingdao, Shandong Province. Hosted as official state visitors by the Supreme People’s Court, the delegates participated in a number of activities, including a legal symposium, mock trials, and visits to criminal justice facilities.
“Exchanges between the United States and China in the field of juvenile justice provide an opportunity for the two countries to engage in a cooperative, non-confrontational way in an area of human rights critical to the development of both societies,” said John Kamm, executive director of The Dui Hua Foundation. “We are already seeing results from these exchanges, and we look forward to doing more work with our Chinese partners to advance the goals of reforming China’s juvenile justice system and rehabilitating young offenders.”
In Beijing, the delegation was welcomed at a banquet held by Justice Xi Xiaoming, Vice President of the Supreme People’s Court. The members visited a juvenile prison and the Haidian District People’s Court, one of China’s largest district courts, which handles 50,000 cases a year—of which approximately 400 are cases involving juveniles. While in Qingdao, the delegation toured a community corrections center and the Qingdao Intermediate People’s Court. The US and Chinese representatives held mock-trial proceedings to demonstrate how juvenile cases are adjudicated in each country. The American side presented an overview of US juvenile justice and the role of the juvenile court judge in detention hearings, trials, adjudication, and—of particular interest to Chinese courts today—the sealing of records. Delegates also made presentations on the roles of probation officers and public defenders in the US system. Chinese experts introduced the US delegates to the current state of the Chinese juvenile justice system, development and reform of which has been made a high priority.
The six-member delegation was led by Judge Lillian Sing of the San Francisco Superior Court, and included Judge Julie Tang (Presiding Judge of the San Francisco Juvenile Court), Ms. Patricia Lee (Managing Attorney for the Juvenile Division of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office), Mr. Allen Nance (Assistant Chief Probation Officer of the City and County of San Francisco), Ms. Laurie Garduque (Program Director for Juvenile Justice with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation), and Dui Hua’s Senior Manager for Research Joshua Rosenzweig. Interpretation was provided by Ms. Sonia Ng and Mr. Chi Ho Chan. Judge Hu Weixin, Deputy Director of the Research Office of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), served as principal host of the American delegates. The American delegation to China was a follow-up to an SPC juvenile justice delegation to the United States hosted by Dui Hua in October 2008.
Juvenile crime is a rapidly growing problem in China, with offenses by Chinese youth having risen at an average annual rate of 12 percent since 2000. In an effort to reform China’s juvenile justice system, more than 2,000 juvenile tribunals under adult courts have been established, along with experimental juvenile courts in some major metropolitan areas. China is studying and adopting new approaches that stress education and rehabilitation and formulating national laws to govern juvenile offenses.
The program was made possible by a grant from the Hong Kong-based Fu Tak Iam Foundation and by contributions from friends of Dui Hua in the United States and Hong Kong.
The Dui Hua Foundation
San Francisco, California
May 25, 2010