Rapist Freed, Innocent Woman Detained and Tortured

April 5, 2007 Updated: April 5, 2007

CHINA—Recently, in northern China, a Laiyuan County official named Zhang Hejun was indicted for the rape of a 14-year-old girl. County commissioners dealt with the matter quietly by suspending Zhang, age 39, for 15 days.

Several months earlier, Li Yanping, also of Laiyan County, was arrested for her peaceful beliefs in Falun Gong. After detaining her for 5 months, the Laiyuan County Court sentenced her to a minimum of 3 years of forced labor.

Ms. Li was tortured while in detention. Her face was swollen from repeated beatings, and her left eye could barely open. Shocks from an electric baton left several black wounds on her arms and hands.

Li's aunt, Zhang Baoshu, was arrested after requesting to visit Li in November. Li's elderly mother, who was with Ms. Zhang, pleaded for hours with officials to release her. Only after National Security Brigade Chief Wei Jinkui extorted 230 yuan (approximately US$28) was she released. Neither of them dared to make further appeals.

It's no secret that the communist regime protects officials when they commit criminal acts. In 2000, Laiyuan County police investigated a prostitution case involving several high-ranking Communist Party officials.

The head of a brothel that fronted as a hair salon was sentenced to 3 years forced labor when an 18-year old prostitute confessed she had more than 20 section and bureau chiefs as clients. In the end, however, none of them were indicted.