The crime of soliciting underage prostitutes may be abolished, after China's top judicial authorities showed support to a move to give better protection to minors, a deputy to the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) told the media Saturday.
The Supreme People's Court (SPC) pointed out that if offenders, who sexually assaulted girls aged under 14, were then charged with this crime, then these girls would be labeled as "prostitutes," which will damage their reputation.
The SPC made the comments as a response to Sun Xiaomei, a deputy to the 12th NPC, following her continuous appeal for the abolition of the crime of soliciting underage prostitutes since 2010, the Beijing Evening News reported on Sunday.
"We would like to get involved in urging legislators to abolish the crime. If the crime is not abolished in a period of time, the SPC will issue guidelines to regulate the application of the crime," the SPC said in the reply to Sun.
The crime of soliciting prostitutes under 14, which was written into China's criminal code in 1997, can carry a sentence of five to 15 years' jail, but the crime of rape may see a sentence from three years to the death penalty.
The crime of soliciting underage prostitutes is widely considered as a law that may help offenders avoid harsher penalties which gives room for more sexual assault toward young girls, Ruan Qilin, a criminal law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times on Sunday.
The SPC said that abolishing the crime of soliciting underage prostitutes is fundamental to solve the chaotic overlap of the crimes of rape and underage prostitution, the Beijing Evening News reported Sunday.