Mainland Chinese are outraged by several recently exposed rape cases of underage students and the light punishment imposed on the convicted.
The most recent cases involve students as young as 5 years old; the teacher, who has committed similar crimes before, sexually abused six of his students in Lushan, in east China's Shandong Province.
People are particularly angry that many cases involve party cadre and public servants, such as the case in Xishui county of southwest China’s Guizhou Province. Between October 2007 and July 2008, about a dozen female students under the age 14 were forced to be prostitutes. Among the seven convicted of the crime, five were public servants. To make matters worse, the brothel was located inside the county’s legal bureau dormitory building.
The scale of the crime is also frightening. According to one case reported by mainland media in February, dozens of primary school students were raped in Lishui city, southeast of China’s Zhejiang Province. Some students had abortions, others contracted sexually transmitted diseases, while the rest became infertile.
According to those media reports, almost all girls were under the age of 14 when the crime was committed, and almost all cases involve party cadre or public servants. An example of such case involves two arrested in Linhai Zhejiang Province; one was a municipal people’s representative, while the other was vice director of the local meteorology bureau.
However, despite the severity of the crimes, the regime still plays down the cases and classifies them as “underage prostitutes,” rather than rape.
The regime’s explanation for its downplay of the crimes is to strike the crime harder. The starting sentence for underage prostitution is five years imprisonment, which is heavier than the starting sentence of three years imprisonment for rape.
However, the heaviest sentence for rape is capital punishment, while the heaviest sentence for underage prostitution is only 15 years imprisonment.
One mainland law scholar pointed out that according to Chinese criminal law, the sentence for rape cases where the victim is under 14 years old, carries the heaviest sentence in the rape category (Criminal Law Item 236), while prostitution by 14-year-olds or younger, carries a five-year sentence and a fine (Criminal Law Item 360).
The two items give the regime’s law enforcement department the power to make decision as to which item to apply according to their need.
Regarding the cases, one Internet blogger wrote, “We believed the first reported case was an isolated one. We did not expect that such a crime would spread throughout the country like an infectious disease. What we see is only the tip of the iceberg.”
One law student wrote, “After my four years of study, I am totally confused. It is not underage prostitution. It’s to rape the law of China!”