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School head, lawmaker, official involved in child rape scandal

A SCHOOL principal, a local lawmaker and a government official have been involved in a child rape scandal in southeast China's Fujian Province.

Police of Anxi County of Quanzhou City have arrested 18 people, including the principal and the law maker, Xinhua news agency quoted the Anxi government as saying today.

Xu Xinhua, principal of Anxi Huaqiao Vocational School, Zheng Wenshan, a leading official with the Anxi Committee of Chinese People's Congress - the local lawmaking authority - and another five have been arrested for rape and child rape.

The other 11 were arrested for organizing, brokering and forcing girls into prostitution.

Xie Zhiteng, director of the Zhengping Town Industrial and Commercial Administration, was among another seven who was sentenced to six months penitentiary education for visiting prostitutes. Prostitution is banned in China.

Xu has been removed from his post as principal and Xie has been suspended as a local law maker, the government said.

The scandal came to light after a girl student surnamed Li with the county's Jinhuo Middle School complained to the police on April 12, the government said.

The girl, escorted by her parents and school officials, told police that Yang Xiangsi, a person from outside the school, had attempted to force her into prostitution with threats and by offering inducements such as money and gifts.

Police investigated and found Yang and his gang had forced eight students from the school and two women into prostitution using similar methods. Five of the eight students were under the age of 14.

Xu and Zheng were among the clients of the underage girls.

The case has been referred to prosecutors, the government said.

Two months ago, a similar case was reported in southwest China's Guizhou Province.

Eight people, including six government officials and teachers, went on trial in early April for their involvement in a child prostitution scandal affecting a dozen primary and middle school students in Xishui County.


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