[Update] New investigation from local police said that there weren’t any intercourse happened between the two and the 6 schoolgirls. At the same time, other reports showed that there might be use of drugs, and that the girls had injuries in their private parts. And there is more, according to local police, it was the girls who called their school principal and the government official to a karaoke club for drinks. So…guess which part Chinese netizens are buying.
Another case of child rape, another outcry among netizens. But will China’s “evil law” of underage prostitutioning change?
The most outrageous news on the Chinese Internet during this past weekend is that the principal of the Second Elementary School in the city of Wanning, Hainan province, took 6 of his female students to a local hotel on May 8. Joined him later was a local government official.
Panicked parents started searching since the evening of May 8 when their daughters weren’t home after school. One girl was found at a relative’s home and another 3 at a rented apartment on May 9. The last 2 were found at a room at a local resort on May 10. All 6 girls seemed to be in a daze when found, with bruises around wrists and necks, as well as other signs of sex abuse.
Both the school principal and the government official were under arrest now. Investigation showed that 4 of the girls were taken to two hotel rooms on the night of May 8. The other two spent two nights at a local beach-side resort, where the government official joined “the party.”
The biggest irony is that when netizens dug out the WeChat (popular Chinese IM and social networking app on mobile phones) account of the monstrous school principal, his signature line went like this: “A charismatic life depends on responsibility and hard-working.”
Needless to say, Chinese netizens are furious, many of whom demanded death sentence for the two criminals. Like one netizen 宋-至秦 commented: “I have only one word for the two bastards: kill! If the government doesn’t kill them, then the parents should.”
Part of what’s behind such fury is that in China, where “child rape” and “prostitutioning the underaged” are two different charges, it’s very hard to put those who have sex with minors to proper punishment.
For example, earlier this year in March, a deputy police chief in the Guangxi Zhuang Ethnic Autonomous Region was charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old schoolgirl. After about a month in detention, he was released due to a lack of evidence. And this is not the only case where government officials who were involved in sex with minors escaped severe punishment by “re-classifying” their crime.
China’s Criminal Law was amended in 2007 to separate the crime of “soliciting sex from a minor” from child rape. Those found guilty of child rape can be sentenced to death, whereas charges of what commonly called “prostitutioning the underaged” (usually 14) only carry a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison. The graph below shows how charges are defined.
Since 2008, People’s Representatives have been calling for the replacement of underage prostitutioning with child rape. But nothing happened till today. Chinese netizens now call the law an “evil law.”
Netizen 晋陕峡谷 commented: “The government insists on practicing an evil law, ignoring people’s call.” Another netizen jimmyxjwang explained: “It’s an evil law because it defaults sexually-assaulted minors as special underaged prostitutes. A minor, no matter seduced, paid or directly/indirectly threatened, should not be labeled as a prostitute by law.” And more importantly, like netizen Rolyn- commented: “If this country’s law doesn’t punish such criminals, who can be sure that our kids won’t be the next victim?”
When and whether will China amend its criminal law? No one knows. Like famous journalist 闾丘露薇 commented: “It’s an old topic, being heatedly debated last year. But nothing happened. I thought there would be a related bill at this year’s Two Sessions. Let’s watch it again.” She then posted a special report on the crimes and the punishments of underage prostitutioning in China.