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Guizhou Officials in Teen Sex Case Imprisoned up to 14 Years

Posted by on 2009/07/25. Filed under China. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

By chinafreepress.org (translation)
Jul 25, 2009 – 3:27:20 AM

A court in Zunyi , Guizhou province, has jailed eight people, including four officials, for their involvement in a high-profile child-prostitution case.

Yuan Ronghui , 37, was sentenced to life imprisonment for forcing 10 schoolgirls, including three under 14, into prostitution. The verdict said Yuan, along with two teenagers, had organized prostitutes for seven defendants at her apartment from October 2007 to June last year. The teenage accomplices were sent to a juvenile institution in April.

Seven men were jailed for seven to 14 years on the charge of using teenage prostitutes. Four were officials from Xishui county, one was a vocational schoolteacher and another a legislator who also ran a property firm. The seventh was a taxi driver.

The case was widely reported on the mainland and caused a furor. Media and the public decried the officials’ immorality. They noted that the maximum penalty for being with a teenage prostitute was just 15 years in jail, while the penalty for child rape was life imprisonment or the death penalty.

There were suspicions that the defendants faced less-severe charges because several were county-level officials, which was also believed to be the reason why the case was transferred to a higher court in Zunyi.

The verdict yesterday revived the criticism, with some netizens saying the men should have been given the death penalty.

The verdict said Yuan deserved severe punishment for abetting teenagers to commit crimes, which “seriously violated the law and endangered society”, Xinhua reported.

It said the officials and the teacher had done great harm to the schoolgirls and severely besmirched the reputation of officialdom.

The case first came to public attention last autumn when police uncovered the prostitution ring.

The initial hearing held on April 8 in Xishui county ended with no verdict after a 16-hour, closed-door trial. The county procuratorate withdrew the case two weeks later, saying it had to investigate the case further.

Despite a public outcry, a Beijing-based legal expert, who requested anonymity, said people may have misunderstood the law as not all defendants charged with raping teenage girls were sentenced to death.

“It is conditional, and according to the media reports, I do not think the defendants in the Xishui case met those conditions,” the expert said, adding that they might actually have been given lighter sentences if they were charged with rape.

Under the rape law, the conditions for the death penalty include “raping more than one teenage girl at once, gang-rape, rape in public places and rape to death”.

But the expert admitted that there was a contradiction in mainland law on how to punish people who sexually abused teenage girls.

“The crime of soliciting teenage girls should be merged with raping teenage girls, otherwise judges and the public will be always confused when facing similar cases,” he said.

Full Chinese report: http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2009/07/200907251204.shtml

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