A Chinese mother, who was recently sentenced to reeducation through labor for petitioning against the sentencing of men who raped and forced her 11-year-old daughter into prostitution, was freed by officials after Internet users expressed outrage over the case.
Local authorities said that 39-year-old Tang Hui of the city of Yongzhou was released on Friday morning, reported state-run media. They released her on the grounds that her daughter is 17 years old now and is still a minor, requiring her mother’s care.
Six years ago, Tang was forced to rescue her daughter, who was kidnapped and forced to perform sexual acts. Five of the seven men in the case received sentences, two of whom were sentenced to death. The defendants appealed, which prompted her to protest.
Not satisfied with the sentences, Tang petitioned the local government, which gave her one and a half years in a forced labor camp, highlighting for many the harsh and arbitrary system of law enforcement the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) employs.
Tang was arrested because she “seriously disturbed the social order and exerted a very negative impact on society,” according to the local Public Security Bureau in Yongzhou.
Local officials, in giving their reasons for sentencing her to forced labor, said she blocked traffic and slept in the courtroom when she was petitioning.
State-run radio quoted local officials as saying that Tang “blocked cars and the entrances of the buildings and shouted out loud,” giving them reason to sentence her.
Local authorities were accused by Chinese netizens of not holding a hearing before issuing the order for Tang’s detention.
Li Chengpeng, a well-known Chinese writer with 5 million followers on the Sina Weibo microblogging website, said on his account that Tang is the victim of the CCP’s “evil orders.”
“Do you have daughters and mothers?” Li asked, referring to officials in Yongzhou.
“Go home and ask them about sending a mother who appealed for her daughter to a forced labor camp. That isn’t human, is it? Hunan [Province], release this mother,” he wrote.
Tang’s husband, who was not named, told the state-run Global Times: “I am so anxious about when her mother will be released from the labor camp to accompany her and relieve her of the past nightmare.”
Another prominent writer, Murong Xuecun, who has around 1.1 million followers on his microblog, said there is a form of “barbarism” in how Chinese officials sentenced Tang to forced labor.
“Tang’s case shows barbarism and inaction of the law enforcement agencies, but also the darkness and cruelty of the labor re-education system. A person can be thrown into prison for offending a local official, without trial or evidence,” he wrote, according to Tea Leaf Nation, a blog focused on contemporary China.
“Millions have met this fate since [the system was put in place] 45 years ago, and it will continue to bring pain and suffering in the days to come. It’s not only dangerous for Tang, but for all citizens. If labor re-education is not abolished, citizens will never be secure,” he wrote.
China’s re-education through labor system has been frequently criticized by human rights activists and Western governments.
Tang’s lawyer Gan Yuanchuan posted to Weibo on the morning of Aug. 10 that she has been released.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.