Minors under the age of 14 in Beijing are more likely to become victims of sexual assault, according to a white paper released by the Beijing High People's Court on Tuesday.
Sexual assaults account for more than a quarter of all the 346 criminal cases targeting minors recorded in Beijing last year, and more than 80 per cent of victims in such assaults were under 14, according to the report.
"Victims in that age group are going through a transitional period from being children to teenagers," said Wu Zongxian, a criminal law professor at Beijing Normal University. "Though physically close to maturity, they still lack social experience. That makes them easy targets for offenders."
Zhao Deyun, the presiding judge of the juvenile court of Beijing High People's Court, blamed the situation on irresponsible hotels that ignore industry rules related to minors.
In one case cited by the white paper, a hotel in Fengtai district allowed a rape suspect surnamed Pan to take a teenage girl who appeared to be under the age of 16 into his room for a night without asking for her ID. When Pan later came to the front desk to buy condoms, the hotel staff did not try to stop him.
In another case, a boy surnamed Tao was found to have allegedly raped an underage girl repeatedly in hotels in Fengtai, Haidian and Xicheng districts. None of the hotels stopped the boy when he checked in without any permission from his parents - as required by industry rules.
Lack of parental guidance and protection was also cited as a reason behind rapes of young girls, according to the report.
"Parents and schools should teach children how to protect themselves from potential sexual assaults," said Wu.
They should teach the children to be alert for strangers and to not receive offers of money or goods from them, he added.