Chinese boy who killed his mother released without punishment

HUNAN (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The possible return to school of a 12-year-old sixth grader who killed his mother has sparked concern among his classmates' parents.

Wu Bing (not his real name) was initially taken into custody for the killing and later released without punishment.

The boy from Yuanjiang in Central China's Hunan province killed his mother, known as Ms Chen, with a kitchen knife after she beat him upon discovering that he had stolen and smoked all the cigarettes she brought home from banquets on the night of Dec 2.

The murder was not discovered until the afternoon of Dec 3 when Wu Bing's grandfather became suspicious and checked Ms Chen's bedroom from a window, and saw blood across the room and her body on the floor.

Since Chinese law holds 14 to be the statutory age for criminal responsibility, local police released Wu Bing without criminal punishment.

"He is too young for us to do anything about him," said local police.

When the boy's family tried to return him to school on Dec 6, however, his classmates' parents expressed strong opposition, saying that "he might commit other crimes in school".

According to public reports, Wu Bing has shown no signs of remorse.

When asked if he thought it was wrong to kill his mother, he said: "I'm wrong, but I killed my mother, not someone else."

According to Chinese criminal law, when children under the age of 16 commit crimes and cannot be prosecuted as adults, they can be sent to government-run shelters and rehabilitation centres.

Many provinces do not, however, have proper shelter and rehabilitation centres for children under 14 years old, and the laws on detention centres are rarely enforced, said a commentary piece on thepaper.cn.

Wu Bing displayed abnormal behaviour since he suffered head injuries between the ages of seven and eight, according to his grandfather.

According to Chinese mental health law, those diagnosed with mental diseases are subject to compulsory medical treatment.

It is irresponsible to release a juvenile into society just days after he brutally murdered his own mother, said thepaper.cn's commentary.