The 16-year-old girl who was allegedly forced into prostitution by her father and his partner four months ago in Kunming, Yunnan province, said Tuesday she was coerced by police to say he committed the crime.
"I was detained and interrogated by the police for more than a week. They told me if I admitted I was a prostitute, we could all go free," Chen Yan told China Daily over the phone.
"I had admitted to everything without knowing what prostitution was. But now I want my father out. I want to tell the truth, that I was never a prostitute," Chen said.
Her father, Liu Shihua, a 36-year-old divorcee, and his partner Zhang Anfen, a 34-year-old mother of two teen daughters, were both residents of Kunming's Wangjiaqiao village.
Liu and his daughter were living under the same roof with Zhang and her two daughters.
A tip on March 16 led Wangjiaqiao police to raid Liu and Zhang's home in the village where they "found reasons to suspect" the duo was forcing Liu's daughter into the flesh trade.
The city's public security authority announced on June 9 that the father and his partner had confessed to harboring and forcing Chen into prostitution for five months beginning October last year.
Liu has been detained by police, while Zhang has reportedly been released on bail.
In a press conference yesterday, local public security authorities denied they coerced confessions out of the family.
"We officially requested an arrest warrant for Liu Shihua from the local people's procuratorate on Monday," said Tao Yimin, head of the Wuhua police department of the city's public security bureau.
The people's procuratorate of Wuhua district said yesterday it had also received a petition sent by the two lawyers representing the family.
It urged the authorities to "seriously consider" if an arrest warrant on the girl's father should be issued.
"The man in his 20s who I invited to watch TV in our house that evening on March 16 was not a client, but a friend of mine," she said.
Chen said she could not remember the name of the man.
According to the family's two lawyers, Xu Xinghua and Chang Boyang, Chen's "poorly educated father had beaten the girl many times to warn her not to have sex or develop any relationship with riffraff on the streets".
"The girl slept with some guys, but we are sure she did not sell her body for money, and police still have not obtained solid evidence to support their allegations," Xu said.
"The two partners and Chen had all been coerced and cajoled into the confessions, which should not be legally considered for prosecution," Chang said.
The two lawyers both said they would continue their appeal.
The public security bureau in Kunming yesterday also criticized the media and a number of individuals for "misleading the public with biased reports over the case".