The father of an 11-year-old girl in central China who was raped by a 60-year-old man in August has appealed the court’s decision to sentence the offender to five and a half years in prison because he feels the penalty is too light.
Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Monday that the father lodged his appeal on Nov. 27 after receiving the court’s judgement on Nov. 23. In the judgement, the Chengbu Miao Autonomous County People’s Court in Hunan province states that the offender, surnamed Wang, was shown lenience because he “confessed truthfully” to the rape.
According to the court’s report seen by Sixth Tone, Wang, a retired teacher, committed the crime when he saw the victim alone at her family home in Maoping Village. When her father returned from an errand, he found the girl crying, and she explained what had happened. He called the police and Wang, who was known to the family; when Wang returned to the home, he was arrested on the spot. On Nov. 20, Wang was found guilty of statutory rape, a crime that in China only applies in cases involving female victims under 14.
In recent years, Chinese authorities have enacted a series of legal and administrative measures to prevent sexual abuse and protect underage victims, such as registering sex offenders and releasing their information to the public. On Friday, the city of Huai’an in eastern China’s Jiangsu province published the names, ID card numbers, photos, genders, and ages of four convicted rapists, as well as the details of their crimes.
Lü Xiaoquan, a lawyer at Beijing Qianqian Law Firm, which specializes in legal aid for victims of gender-based violence, told Sixth Tone on Tuesday that sexual abuse of minors is a universal issue that has particularly afflicted villages in China, where perpetrators are often known to their victims.
“This sentence falls within the scope of penalty measures, but personally I think such crimes should be severely punished,” Lü said. He explained that national sentencing guidelines for sexual offences against minors recommended heavier punishments in cases where the victim was under 12 and the offender had entered the child’s residence. “[The judgement] has not taken the protection of children’s rights as its priority,” he said.
Lü added that China’s civil law, too, is lacking when it comes to compensation provisions for victims of crime. “Domestic civil courts currently do not support any claims from criminal victims for mental compensation, even in sexual abuse cases with little material loss but obvious psychological harm,” he said.
The father of the 11-year-old victim, who raised his daughter and her elder brother alone after their mother passed away, told The Paper that the judge of the criminal case had spoken with him and his lawyer about compensation. He had asked for 280,000 yuan ($42,000), but Wang agreed to only 10,000 yuan. The father added that his family has relocated to a rental property in the county seat, as his daughter is so shaken with fear that she does not want to live in their hometown.
Editor: Qian Jinghua.
(Header image: VCG)