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7 stand trial on child rape charges

FOUR government officials, a legislator, a teacher and a taxi driver stood trial yesterday on child rape charges in a court in southwestern China's Guizhou Province.

The closed-door trial started at 8:30am at the People's Court of Xishui County yesterday and will continue today.

"Because the case involves underage people we decided not to have an open trial," said Yu Deping, the court president. "It's a case with a very bad impact on society," he said.

The accused were official Li Shoumin, who was in charge of the county's migration office, land and resources official Chen Mengran, social security official Huang Yongliang, legal affairs official Chen Cun, legislator Mu Mingzhong, vocational school teacher Feng Zhiyang and taxi driver Feng Yong.

Li was removed from his post before the trial, and Mu, also a manager at a local real estate company, was suspended from his legislative post, said Li Ling, secretary of the Xishui County Committee of the Communist Party of China.

"The other government officials will face other severe punishments after the trial is over," he said.

The suspects are accused of raping teenage girls, all primary and secondary school students in Xishui County, abetted by Yuan Li, a 37-year-old unemployed woman, and two of her friends from October 2007 to July 2008, said Yuan Yunqin, secretary of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of the CPC Xishui County Committee.

Police started an investigation into the case on August 15 last year when a victim's mother reported that her daughter had been raped, Yuan said.

Yuan Li, who has yet to be tried, "offered her own apartment as a hospitality venue, helped find clients and took 30 percent of the income - roughly 100 yuan (US$14.63) per person," he said.

The remainder went to her friends, a 14-year-old school dropout surnamed Liu and Liu's boyfriend, 15-year-old Yuan.

The two teenagers, who were drug addicts, abducted schoolgirls from one primary school and three junior high schools in the county.

They are now in a juvenile detention center.


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