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Official gets 8 years for child rape

By Jin Zhu | China Daily | Updated: 2013-12-07 06:45

A former county official in Yunnan province was sentenced on Friday to eight years in prison in a retrial for raping a 4-year-old girl.

Former Daguan county official Guo Yuchi was initially sentenced on Sept 24 to five years in prison for the rape, but public outcry and protests from the girl's family impelled authorities in the city of Zhaotong to demand the county court retry the case on Oct 17.

In the initial sentencing, the Daguan county court also ruled Guo did not have to financially compensate the family.

A statement by the Daguan court on Friday after the retrial said Guo committed the crime on his way home on Aug 24 after drinking with friends.

"As a civil servant, Guo should receive a harsher punishment for his sexual assault on a minor at the age of 4, which caused great physical and mental damage to the victim," the court said.

Attorneys for the girl provided new evidence during the retrial and showed that Guo gagged the victim with paper to prevent her from crying out when he committed the rape.

Under Chinese law, those convicted of rape should be sentenced to between three to 10 years, said Wu Ming'an, a criminal law professor at China University of Political Science and Law.

"The verdict after retrial is reasonable considering the rapist's former occupation and the impact his crime had on society," said Wu, who acknowledged that a sentence of eight years is not substantially different from five years in prison.

Chen Weibiao, the girl's attorney, said on Friday that he is satisfied with the current verdict even though he expected more than 10 years in prison for Guo.

"At least it shows the country's determination to punish the criminal," he said.

The girl's family has not decided whether to accept the verdict or to appeal, Chen said.

"The girl now is getting better after psychological counseling. But she is still sensitive to strangers and does not like meeting new people," he said.

On Oct 25, Guo agreed to compensate 150,000 yuan ($24,650) after the court in Zhaotong city ordered a retrial.

After the initial ruling on Sept 24, prosecutors appealed, saying the sentence was "clearly inappropriate".

Chen said the amount of compensation is insufficient to pay for the girl's long-term mental health treatment.

There has been a spate of sexual assaults on children by government workers.

In June, Li Xingong, an official from Yongcheng, Henan province, was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting 11 girls, the youngest of whom was 9 years old. Li was sentenced to death and was executed on June 18.

In May, Chen Zaipeng, principal of a primary school in Wanning, Hainan province, and Feng Xiaosong, a staff member from the local housing authority, were arrested on suspicion of raping six sixth-grade students. They were convicted in June and Chen was sentenced to 13 and a half years in prison, while Feng got 11 and a half years.

In October, a document by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice called for harsher punishments for those who sexually assault minors under the age of 12 and for civil servants, guardians and teachers who sexually assault minors.

Cao Yin contributed to this story.

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