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Woman who helped 118 orphans now facing charges

By Zhu Lixin and Zhang Yu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-05-17 15:13
Li Lijuan.

Known for adopting more than 100 orphans and abandoned children, a once benevolent woman from Wu'an city, North China's Hebei province, now faces charges for multiple alleged crimes including manipulating children to serve her own purposes.

The city court will hold a hearing on May 23, according to Beijing News.

Using the pseudonym of Li Lijuan, Li Yanxia claimed she had spent millions of yuan raising the children, orphans or abandoned, in the city's Baijiazhuang village since 1996. The number of children under her care reached 118 in 2017.

Her benevolent story once helped her earn recognition as one of 10 major figures in the province in 2006, until the local authorities put her under criminal detention last year over multiple charges including manipulating children to hinder construction, allowing her and her partners to blackmail construction companies, as the report showed.

Together with other 15 suspects, Li, 49, will be tried by the local court on May 23, it reported earlier this week.

A document provided by the Wu'an People's Court to Li's lawyer shows the charges against Li and her believed accomplices include disturbing social order, forging company seals, blackmailing, fraud, duty encroachment, intentional injury and harboring criminals, according to the report.

Previous media reports said the police had frozen her personal bank accounts, as many as 45, holding total deposits worth more than 20 million yuan ($2.9 million).

She was placed under criminal detention in May 2018, while 74 children have been taken over by the local government.

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