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Woman gets life in jail for forcing girls into prostitution

Eight people, including four government officials and a teacher, were jailed today for terms ranging from seven years to life for child rape in southwest China's Guizhou Province.

Yuan Ronghui, an unemployed woman who abetted and forced 10 schoolgirls into prostitution in Xishui County from October 2007 to June 2008, received a life term handed down at the Intermediate People's Court of Zunyi City.

Yuan offered her own apartment as a venue for the rapes, after her two teenage accomplices abducted schoolgirls, three under the age of 14, from a primary school and three junior high schools, the court heard.

Seven other people were jailed for terms of seven to 14 years after being convicted of child-rape.

Feng Zhiyang, 43, a teacher at the Xishui No. 1 Vocational School, raped two girls three times, paying roughly 100 yuan (US$14) each time. He was jailed for 14 years.

Legal affairs official Chen Cun, who raped one girl twice, was given 12 years, while Mu Mingzhong, a real estate company manager and also a county legislator, was sentenced to 10 years after being convicted of raping two girls twice at the office.

Driver Feng Yong, Li Shouming, who headed the county migration office, social security official Huang Yongliang, and land official Chen Mengran, each received seven-year terms.

The officials, the teacher and the manager deserved severe punishment according to the law, because they inflicted severe harm on the girls' health, damaged the social order and ruined the reputation of civil servants, said the judge.

The eight entered no appeal at the court, but they have 10 days in which to do so.

The charges of statutory rape were first raised in a closed-door trial at the county court on April 8. The hearing ended on April 9 with no verdict. The trial was shifted to the intermediate court in May after new facts and evidence were submitted.

Under China's criminal law, the jail term for rape is three to 10 years. But child rapists, including those convicted of statutory rape, can be sentenced to life or even the death penalty, if they knew the victim was under 14.


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