CHINA: COURT CHANGES DEATH SENTENCE TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT IN RAPE CASE
September 5, 2014: A higher court in central China's Hunan Province overturned a death sentence for 2 men convicted of raping the daughter of a social campaigner and sentenced them life in prison in their final ruling.
Zhou Junhui and Qin Xing were found guilty of rape, organizing prostitution and forcing others into prostitution, according to the Hunan Higher People's Court.
In October 2006, Tang Hui's then 11-year-old daughter was raped and forced into prostitution. She was rescued on Dec. 30, 2006.
In Tang's daughter's case, the same higher court sentenced Zhou and Qin to death, another four accomplices to life in prison and one to 15 years in a final verdict on June 5, 2012. But a collegiate bench of the Supreme People's Court annulled the death penalty for the 2 in June this year and ordered the provincial higher court to retry the case.
The court retried the case on July 25 and made the final ruling on Friday (September 5).
The court said their crime did not warrant a death sentence.
The victim's mother, Tang, gained public attention after protesting in front of the Yongzhou municipal government buildings on Aug. 2, 2012 when she insisted on harsher punishments for all those found guilty.
She was then put in a labor camp in Yongzhou for "seriously disturbing social order and exerting a negative impact on society" but was released 8 days later amid a public outcry urging her release.
On Jan. 22, 2013, Tang filed a lawsuit at the Intermediate People's Court in Yongzhou in which she asked for 2,463.85 yuan in compensation.
On April 12 that year, the court ruled that Tang was not entitled to the compensation she requested. She then appealed to the provincial higher people's court, which ordered the Yongzhou municipal re-education through labor commission to pay her 2,641.15 yuan in July for infringing upon her personal freedom and causing psychological damage.
Her case helped bring about the abolishment of the reeducation through labor program late last year.
Re-education through labor, known as "laojiao" in Chinese, allows police to detain people for up to 4 years without an open trial. (Source: Xinhua News, Sept. 6, 2014)