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Official's letters allege sex assault

A FEMALE official in northwestern China is in a coma after a suicide bid because she had allegedly been sexually harassed by a superior, a local newspaper reported yesterday.

The 36-year-old, identified as Zhang, swallowed pesticide last Friday morning at the office building of the Xi'an Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision, the Xi'an-based Sanqin Metropolis Daily reported.

Zhang, once a mid-level official from the bureau, wrote her family two letters accusing her superior, who was not named by the newspaper, of harassment and sexual assault in his office and at his home and continuing to make trouble for her in her work and her personal life.

Zhang, who used to serve the bureau as the deputy of its personnel department and vice secretary of the bureau's Youth League, was twice questioned by local police before her suicide bid, but the reason for the questioning has not been revealed. In one of her two letters Zhang said she had made arrangements for her mother and child and was sorry for the shame her family would face.

She also wished the scandal be made public and her superior punished in the letter she wrote dated March 11.

She said her superior had sacked her and sent someone to follow her, disturb her and libel her over the past two years and she had had to call the police.

She said she had been a deputy division chief for nine months before the superior took office in 2005.

She was moved from her bureau office to act as a vice director in a district branch at the beginning of 2007 and ordered to another district office several months later.

Zhang also detailed promises made by her superior which included promotion, gifts and cash in one of the letters, an 11-page document signed by her on April 2. Details of what happened between them and the superior's retaliation were listed.

One of Zhang's relatives told the newspaper that Zhang had mentioned what was going on last month and admitted she was desperate and scared.

The relative warned the superior via text message and talked to him in his office. The relative was later questioned by police.


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