2 men in underage-sex case sentenced for rape
Updated: 2015-03-04 07:49
By Huang Zhiling in Chengdu(China Daily)
A court in Qionglai, Sichuan province, has sentenced two men in the city to five years in prison for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
What is unusual about the case is that it gave the sentence on the basis of rape rather than that of paying a girl under the age of 14 to have sex.
"Deputies to the National People's Congress and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference have been calling for the abolition of the crime of paying a girl under the age of 14 for sex and replacing it with rape," said Dong Yuchuan, a lawyer in Chengdu, Sichuan.
In 1997, the NPC, the country's lawmaking body, revised the criminal law, establishing the crime of paying for sex with a girl under the age of 14 and differentiating it from rape.
In March 2012, Chen Yan, a member of the CPPCC, called for the abolition of such a crime when its annual session was held in Beijing. She said the crime implied that a girl involved in such a case was a prostitute, which she believed would be detrimental to protection of minors.
In March 2013, Sun Xiaomei, a deputy to the NPC, submitted her motion calling for abolition of the crime.
Responding to her motion, the Supreme People's Court said four months later that the crime of paying a girl under the age of 14 to have sex was an insult to minors because it acknowledged girl prostitutes. The SPC promised to work for abolition of the crime by the NPC.
"The sentence given by the Qionglai court was an endorsement of the call for the abolition of the crime," said Xu Li, a researcher with the court.
In July 2013, a middle-aged construction contractor surnamed Yang in Qionglai promised to buy new clothes for a 13-year-old junior high school student. After they had sex in a hotel, the man gave her 800 yuan ($130) and bought her new clothes and shoes. In the same month, another middle-aged man in the city paid the girl 800 yuan for sex in a hotel.
"After both men were nabbed by police for having sex with an underage girl, prosecutors thought the two should be accused of rape because they knew the girl was a minor under 14 but had sex with her anyway," Xu said. Early last month, the Qionglai court sentenced both men to five years in prison, Xu added.
Last year, the media disclosed 503 cases of sexual assault against minors, more than four times the figure for the previous year, according to Protecting Girls, a project listed under the Child Safety Fund and supported by the Chinese Social Assistance Foundation.
The cases disclosed by the media account for only a small number of such cases, said Ni Chunxia, an official with the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
According to Protecting Girls, most people victimized in sexual assault cases disclosed by the media last year were ages 7 to 14.
(China Daily 03/04/2015 page3)