China lowered the age of criminal responsibility for serious crimes, the Associated Press reported.
The age was lowered from 14 to 12 to combat juvenile crime.
Children from 12 to 14 can now be criminally liable for premeditated murder, for intentional injury resulting in death and for inflicting serious injury with particular cruelty.
For other crimes, children could be sent to a correctional institution.
The amendment will take effect March 1.
China currently criminalizes at age 16, and teens 14 to 16 can be criminally punished for premeditated murder, rape and robbery.
Previously in China, juvenile offenders received relatively lenient sentences, which angered citizens. For example, a 13-year-old boy received only 3 years in a correctional institution for killing a 10-year-old girl.