Chinese netizens, media clash on teenage girl rape claim

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2018/2/1 15:33:39

Chinese netizens and media have been engaged in a standoff since Wednesday, after several news reports questioned a teenage girl for claiming she was raped by a dozen of her relatives who have since been jailed, in a case a decade ago.

"Where has Tang Lanlan been?" news portal thepaper.cn said in its report on Wednesday. The report has been deleted as of press time.

Tang's mother Wan Xiuling and aunt Tang Yumei, whose husband Liu Changhai was also sentenced, appealed to the Supreme People's Procuratorate of China, reported the Yangtse Evening Post's  Ziniu News on Wednesday.

Fu Jian, Tang Yumei's lawyer, told the Global Times on Thursday that the case lacks evidence - the suspects all denied their involvement, and two were sentenced without any testimonies.

"Tang Lanlan was against her family, and Tang Yumei has been appealing for the family for 10 years," Fu said, "We have appealed to the Supreme People's Procuratorate several times but received no reply so far."

Five of the 11 have been released so far, including Wan, who felt Tang had been instigated by others to fabricate the incident and has been asking lawyers to appeal, according to Ziniu News report.

Tang changed her identity and had since moved out. Wan is also looking for Tang, hoping her daughter could clarify the matter.

However, after reports on Tang were made, thousands of netizens criticized media for violating Tang's privacy and rights.

"If Tang Lanlan is with you, please protect and hide her, because people who want to seek revenge have been released from prison," "Wuhoude Shuiyao," a Sina Weibo user, appealed. The tweet garnered more than 32,000 reposts and 21,800 likes, with most people supporting Tang's protection.

If a defendant feels she was unjustly charged, she should appeal according to law, instead of inciting media to find the victim. "If media adds fuel to the fire, it would become an accomplice," Tang Yunxiu, a Sina Weibo user who claims to be a lawyer from Chengdu, Sichuan Province said on his Sina Weibo account.

In October 2008, 14-year-old Tang Lanlan (pseudonym) told Wudalianchi city police in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province that she had been raped for seven years by more than 10 people, including her father, grandfather, uncles, teacher and neighbors, the Beijing Youth Daily quoted thepaper.cn on Thursday.

Eleven people were sentenced for raping an underage girl. Her parents were also sentenced for forced prostitution and her father was given a life sentence, thepaper.cn said.

 "The case is suspicious, but media reports have also pushed Tang at the center of suspicions," Luo Ruixue, a member of women's rights group Women Awakening Network, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Luo said that netizens tend not to believe that Tang, who used to be a teenage girl, was incapable of making such a big lie, so the case could lead to an outcry.

Luo said that in many cases that involve minors, victims often change their identity in another place.



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