Of­fi­cial gets 8 years for child rape

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By JIN ZHU jinzhu@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A for­mer county of­fi­cial in Yun­nan prov­ince was sen­tenced on Fri­day to eight years in prison in a re­trial for rap­ing a 4-year-old girl.

For­mer Daguan county of­fi­cial Guo Yuchi was ini­tially sen­tenced on Sept 24 to five years in prison for the rape, but pub­lic outcry and protests from the girl’s fam­ily im­pelled au­thor­i­ties in the city of Zhao­tong to de­mand the county court retry the case on Oct 17.

In the ini­tial sen­tenc­ing, the Daguan county court also ruled Guo did not have to fi­nan­cially com­pen­sate the fam­ily.

A state­ment by the Daguan court on Fri­day af­ter the re­trial said Guo com­mit­ted the crime on his way home on Aug 24 af­ter drink­ing with friends.

“As a civil ser­vant, Guo should re­ceive a harsher pun­ish­ment for his sex­ual as­sault on a mi­nor at the age of 4, which caused great phys­i­cal and men­tal dam­age to the vic­tim,” the court said.

At­tor­neys for the girl pro­vided new ev­i­dence dur­ing the re­trial and showed that Guo gagged the vic­tim with pa­per to pre­vent her from cry­ing out when he com­mit­ted the rape.

Un­der Chi­nese law, those con­victed of rape should be sen­tenced to be­tween three to 10 years, said Wu Ming’an, a crim­i­nal law pro­fes­sor at China Univer­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence and Law.

“The verdict af­ter re­trial is rea­son­able con­sid­er­ing the rapist’s for­mer oc­cu­pa­tion and the im­pact his crime had on so­ci­ety,” said Wu, who ac­knowl­edged that a sen­tence of eight years is not sub­stan­tially dif­fer­ent from five years in prison.

Chen Weib­iao, the girl’s at­tor­ney, said on Fri­day that he is sat­is­fied with the cur­rent verdict even though he ex­pected more than 10 years in prison for Guo.

“At least it shows the coun­try’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to pun­ish the crim­i­nal,” he said.

The girl’s fam­ily has not de­cided whether to ac­cept the verdict or to ap­peal, Chen said.

“The girl now is get­ting bet­ter af­ter psy­cho­log­i­cal coun­sel­ing. But she is still sen­si­tive to strangers and does not like meet­ing new peo­ple,” he said.

On Oct 25, Guo agreed to com­pen­sate 150,000 yuan ($ 24,650) af­ter the court in Zhao­tong city or­dered a re­trial.

Af­ter the ini­tial rul­ing on Sept 24, pros­e­cu­tors ap­pealed, say­ing the sen­tence was “clearly in­ap­pro­pri­ate”.

Chen said the amount of com­pen­sa­tion is in­suf­fi­cient to pay for the girl’s long-term men­tal health treat­ment.

There has been a spate of sex­ual as­saults on chil­dren by gov­ern­ment work­ers.

In June, Li Xingong, an of­fi­cial from Yongcheng, Henan prov­ince, was con­victed of rap­ing and sex­u­ally as­sault­ing 11 girls, the youngest of whom was 9 years old. Li was sen­tenced to death and was ex­e­cuted on June 18.

In May, Chen Zaipeng, prin­ci­pal of a pri­mary school in Wan­ning, Hainan prov­ince, and Feng Xiaosong, a staff mem­ber from the lo­cal hous­ing au­thor­ity, were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of rap­ing six sixth-grade stu­dents. They were con­victed in June and Chen was sen­tenced to 13 and a half years in prison, while Feng got 11 and a half years.

In Oc­to­ber, a doc­u­ment by the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court, the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate, the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity and the Min­istry of Jus­tice called for harsher pun­ish­ments for those who sex­u­ally as­sault mi­nors un­der the age of 12 and for civil ser­vants who sex­u­ally as­sault mi­nors.

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