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January 8, 2015

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Village chief detained over schoolgirl sex scandal

AN official of a village in northwest China has been detained on suspicion of being involved in a prostitution racket that lured schoolgirls into having sex with influential lawmakers.

The Wuqi People’s Congress Standing Committee identified Qi Jingtao, head of the villagers’ committee in Loufangzhang, Shaanxi Province, as the person held by police, but did not elaborate on the case.

According to a report by the Legal Weekly, several local businessmen have sought to curry favor with government officials by providing them with virgins to sleep with. Many of the girls were recruited from Wuqi County High School with the help of their fellow pupils, it said.

An unnamed insider was quoted as saying the girls were taken to a hotel where they were “assessed” to ensure they were virgins and pretty enough to “meet” an official.

The business was also highly lucrative for the pupils who recruited the new girls, with one of them earning 1.2 million yuan (US$193,000) in commission fees, the report said.

Of the 5,000 yuan the girls were paid for their virginities, 3,000 yuan went to the recruiter, it said.

The scandal came to light following an investigation into bullying at the school. Police found that seven 11th-grade girls had bullied five 10th-grade girls in a dorm room over a six-hour period on September 21-22.

The younger girls said they were forced to strip and take photos of one another. Those that resisted were threatened at knifepoint, the report said.

On September 26, police detained six of the seniors, while a seventh girl walked free as she was under 16 and therefore below the age of criminal responsibility, a statement said.

While police did not indicate a connection between the bullying and the alleged prostitution scandal, several parents of the younger girls did, the report said.

“Our children were forced to strip naked. When my daughter refused, her clothes were cut off with a knife and she suffered cuts to her stomach,” one was quoted as saying.

“An 11th-grader kicked my daughter in the stomach and she collapsed to the ground,” said another.

Several of the younger girls were later checked by doctors who confirmed they had been assaulted, the report said.

Some parents have appealed to the authorities for compensation to cover medical bills but their claims have so far fallen on deaf ears, it said.

The school’s headmaster Zhang Junyin has denied any responsibility for the bullying, it said.

When three of the parents staged a protest outside the county government building, they were given a five-day administrative detention as punishment, the report said.

“Police agreed to release us after we promised never again to petition the county, city or province,” one said.


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