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New evidence in child rape case

PROSECUTORS have temporarily withdrawn charges against seven people in a child rape case in southwestern China as they investigate new evidence that has come to hand.

Prosecutors in Guizhou Province have uncovered the new evidence and are starting a new line of investigation, Guangzhou Daily reported today.

A girl, key figure in the case, has been found after she went missing when the seven suspects - four officials, a legislator, a teacher and a taxi driver – first appeared in court on April 10.

Her father said he was deeply concerned about the safety of his daughter and his family.

The suspects were charged with raping more than 10 teenage girls, all primary and secondary school students in Xishui, abetted by Yuan Li, a 37-year-old unemployed woman, and two of her friends from October 2007 to July 2008.

Police began investigating last August after a mother reported that her daughter had been raped.

Under Chinese law a charge of rape can mean jail terms of from three to 10 years, but child rapists can be sentenced to life, or even death, if they are found to have known the victim was under 14.


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