It is not the first time that the Chinese police have cracked "prostitution cases" involving virgins. The latest victims, reported by the media on Tuesday, are two primary school students, aged 15 and 13, in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province. The local police detained the girls on March 16. Only after the Kunming Forensic Hospital examined the girls and certified them as virgins, did the police release the girls. Why do the police indulge in this farce of incriminating the innocent? An article in Chongqing Times explains. Excerpts:
As has happened in similar cases before, the police arrested the victims based on hearsay and used torture to extract confessions. Their enforcement of the law by the "presumption of guilt" has rarely been challenged.
It is unimaginable how much the two young girls would have suffered but for the hospital certifying their virginity. In all likelihood, they would have been put behind bars. Thus defamed and their dignity trampled upon, the girls would have had to live with the stigma and social discrimination.
Although many years have passed since legal authorities advocated the principle of "presumption of innocence", sections of the police continue to be casual, careless and violent in the way they handle cases. Therefore, it is not surprising that the victims of injustice, instead of the police, are burdened with responsibility of proving their innocence.
According to the police, in the latest case, the two girls were suspected of prostitution because of an alleged conversation, implying commercial sex, between one of them and a passer-by. They were caught right in front of their house, drawing a huge crowd of onlookers who assumed they were prostitutes. As victims of this police procedure, the girls were doubly shamed and humiliated - by police and the public.
Now, when the facts have come to light, the police officials involved are being condemned by the media and the public for their misconduct.
But the hurt inflicted on the psyche of the girls can never be undone, despite the piece of paper proving their innocence. Just as their father said: "My daughters have dropped out of school after the incident. How will they face the uncertain future? How will they face this world?"
The two minor girls, with minds still pure and innocent, may not even have an understanding of sex. But they have been exposed to an adult world - dirty and full of abuse of power - and helplessly suffered a humiliation that has left a cruel mark on their young hearts.
(China Daily 06/04/2009 page8)