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Three Children Facing Death Penalty for Fatally Beating 13-Year-Old Classmate

Three children in China are facing the death penalty after allegedly beating their 13-year-old classmate to death in Hebei province last month.

The suspects, all under 14 years old at the time of the incident, are accused of bullying their classmate, identified only as Wang, over an extended period before fatally assaulting him.

Wang’s father shared on Douyin, a Chinese social media platform, that his son was subjected to a brutal beating, resulting in his death. He appealed for justice, urging the government to punish the perpetrators severely.

Surveillance footage captured moments before the incident showed Wang sitting on a scooter, surrounded by his three classmates on March 10. An hour later, his phone went offline, prompting a search by his relatives.

The next day, police made a grim discovery: Wang’s body buried under a tarp in an abandoned vegetable greenhouse.

Authorities in Feixiang district of Handan city, where the incident occurred, released a statement on March 17 confirming Wang’s death on March 10 and the subsequent detention of the suspects on March 11.

A police investigator revealed to state broadcaster CCTV on March 18 that the crime had been planned in advance, with the suspects digging out the pit twice, once the day before and again on the day of the killing.

Wang’s relatives and their attorney shared in interviews with Chinese media and posts on social media that the boy had been a victim of bullying for a long time. They also mentioned that he was compelled to give money to one of his classmates before the fatal incident occurred.

They mentioned that police identified the suspected killers after reviewing the surveillance footage and questioning the classmates.

The provincial prosecutor revealed today that it had received a police request last month to criminally try the suspects, named Zhang, Li, and Ma.

It further stated that it had determined that the three were between 12 and 14 years old when they “intentionally committed murder, causing the death of the victim, Wang.”

“The circumstances were serious, and they should be held criminally responsible,” the provincial office stated, noting that the decision had been reviewed by the country’s top public prosecutor.

“While handling cases strictly in accordance with the law, the procuratorial organs will… further strengthen the prevention and treatment of juvenile crimes,” the provincial prosecutor continued.

Under Chinese law, murder is punishable by imprisonment or the death penalty.

Zhang Dongshuo, a defense attorney in Beijing unaffiliated with the case, said that Wang’s death is the latest in a series of juvenile murder cases in China that have sparked debate on how old a child should be before being held fully accountable for their actions.

“Generally speaking, these kinds of cases involving minors are rare,” Zhang said. “But recently more and more of these cases have been reported by the media, and it’s been triggering discussion in Chinese society over revising the age of criminal responsibility.”

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