Ex-laojiao inmate will continue her quest for justice

Updated: 2013-04-13 01:51

By ZHAO YINAN (China Daily)

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A former laojiao inmate, who claimed she was wrongfully confined without trial, says she will continue her quest for justice, after her initial lawsuit for State compensation was turned down on Friday.

A panel of three judges at Yongzhou Intermediate People's Court decided to rebut the compensation request from Tang Hui, who had filed the case against the local committee for laojiao — re-education through labor camps — demanding 2,460 yuan ($397) in compensation and a written apology.

Tang said she cried after hearing the ruling. "I was sad, but not fully surprised. Seeking justice can be difficult," she said.

She said she will appeal to the provincial court in 15 days, the legally mandated timeframe for appealing.

Xu Liping, Tang's lawyer, said he was hopeful judges would side with them since "the defendants have already admitted in court that Tang's laojiao decision was made improperly".

Tang was the second former laojiao inmate to seek State compensation by filing court cases after their laojiao decision was revoked. Both of the requests have been turned down.

Ren Jianyu, a former village official in Chongqing, filed a lawsuit against local laojiao committee in August, asking for State compensation for mental damage.

Ren was released after serving about one year in a labor camp for "spreading negative comments and information online", according to the local laojiao committee, which said the original laojiao sentence was "inappropriate". Ren's request was dismissed in November.

Tang, the mother of a rape victim, was sentenced to 18 months in laojiao in Hunan's Yongzhou city last year for repeatedly petitioning in front of government buildings, complaining that the local police had falsified evidence in her daughter's rape case.

Tang was forced into a camp by police in August, for "seriously disturbing social order and exerting a negative impact on society".

Although Tang's original sentence was 18 months, the mother was released in eight days amid widespread public criticism of the decision.

Tang's daughter was kidnapped, raped and forced into prostitution in October 2006 when she was 11 years old. The girl was rescued in December of that year.

Hunan Provincial Higher People's Court sentenced two of the girl's kidnappers to death in June. Four others were given life sentences and another received a 15-year term.

Wei Xuanjun, the mayor of Yongzhou, said the Supreme People's Court is still reviewing the death sentences and is yet to draw a conclusion.

The city's laojiao committee turned down Tang's previous request for compensation of 2,400 yuan, arguing the decision "was withdrawn, not because it was wrong, but out of humanitarian concerns".

The laojiao penalty, which authorities say is likely to be reformed this year, can hold a person in confinement up to four years without an open trial.

Premier Li Keqiang pledged to issue a reform plan of laojiao this year, at a news conference in March. Senior legislators have also revealed that related government departments are preparing to push for laojiao reform.

Wen Xinzheng in Hunan contributed to this story.