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Mother's labor camp lawsuit reaches final hearing

By Wen Xinzheng in Changsha and An Baijie in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-03 07:58

 Mother's labor camp lawsuit reaches final hearing

Tang Hui (right) is surrounded by media before walking into the Hunan Provincial Higher People's Court. Feng Yuanzhi / for China Daily

The Hunan Provincial Higher People's Court started the final hearing on Tuesday of a case in which a young rape victim's mother sued a government authority for putting her in a labor camp.

Tang Hui, 40, claimed at the court that the Yongzhou laojiao committee, which is in charge of re-education through labor, should make a written apology and compensate her 1,000 yuan ($163) for putting her in a labor camp in August 2008.

She also claimed State compensation of 1,463.85 yuan for her nine-day detention in the labor camp.

Dozens of her supporters stood outside the court on Tuesday morning, and she hugged them and wept before entering the court.

Jiang Jianxiang, director of the committee, who is also the city's deputy-mayor and head of the public security bureau, apologized to Tang in court, saying that the government failed to give her enough humane care.

However, Jiang insisted that Tang had disturbed social order through repeated petitioning, and the committee's decision to put her into the labor camp was right.

Tang claimed that it goes against the law to put her into the labor camp, and the committee should admit guilt and make a public apology.

"I did not disturb social order," she said. "Even when I knelt in front of the government building, I chose the sidewalk rather than the main road to avoid blocking the traffic."

A verdict has yet to be given.

Xu Liping, Tang's lawyer, said that he was optimistic since Tang had enough evidence to support her requests.

Tang told China Daily after the hearing that the committee negotiated with her in May, promising to compensate her 2,000 yuan, make an oral apology and provide her a 100,000 yuan subsidy.

She refused to accept the committee's oral apology and money, insisting that the committee should make a public apology.

"I hope that they could express their goodwill in the light of day," Tang said.

In April, the Yongzhou Intermediate People's Court denied her requests for a written apology and compensation from the committee, as well as the State compensation.

In October 2006, Tang's then 11-year-old daughter was kidnapped, raped and forced into prostitution. The girl was rescued on Dec 30, 2006, and since then, Tang has been petitioning for harsh punishment for those found guilty.

In June last year, the Hunan Provincial Higher People's Court sentenced two of the girl's kidnappers to death. Four others received life sentences and another man was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The sentences did not satisfy Tang, and she petitioned for harsher punishment. She also accused the police of dereliction of duty in her daughter's case.

On Aug 2, when she was petitioning in front of a local government building in Yongzhou, she was put into a labor camp for "seriously disturbing social order and exerting a negative impact on society".

She was sentenced to 18 months in the laojiao camp, but was released eight days later amid public outcry urging her release. The Yongzhou laojiao committee explained afterward that she was released out of "humane concerns" rather than from a wrong verdict.

In January, she filed a lawsuit against the committee, but her request for an apology and compensation was denied by the court in April.

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