New developments in the Xishui child rape scandal

A change in court jurisdiction on the Xishui case has taken place today.

In April, all the defendants were charged before the Xishui people’s court, then further investigations on the case began. They have now been completed, and charges against the defendants have been laid before the Zunyi intermediate people’s court.

What does this change in court jurisdiction implies?

Simply, that one of the defendants may receive a life sentence or even a capital sentence, because intermediate people’s courts have first instance jurisdiction over ordinary criminal cases punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty (20 (2) CPL ).

Such a defendant will most likely be Yuan Ronghui (袁荣会 a.k.a Yuan Li 袁莉), who has been charged with the crime of forcing others into prostitution (358 CL). Given that Yuan forced girls under 14 into prostitution, she could be sentenced either to more than 10 years imprisonment or to life imprisonment. But, if the court will find that her crime has been committed in especially serious circumstances, she could be sentenced to capital punishment.

Before, Yuan was charged with the crime of harboring prostitution (359 CL), which carries a maximum sentence of more than 5 years imprisonment.

Charges laid against the five officials have not changed. All of them have been indicted on charges of visiting prostitutes (360 CL), so they should receive a maximum sentence of more than five years imprisonment. According to the Zunyi Procuracy, all of them knew that the girls were very young, but in spite of this they have committed the crime of visiting prostitutes.

This unsatisfactory explanation and the lack of determination showed by the procuracy are being criticized on Tianya, and elsewhere.

Relevant Provisions


Criminal Law of the PRC

Article 358. Those organizing others for or forcing others into prostitution are to be sentenced to five to 10 years in prison in addition to having to pay a fine. Those falling in one or more of the following cases are to be sentenced to 10 years or more in prison or given a life sentence, in addition to a fine or confiscation of property:

(1) Those committing serious crimes of organizing others for prostitution;

(2) those forcing young girls under the age of 14 into prostitution;

(3) those forcing more than one person into prostitution and those repeatedly forcing others into prostitution;

(4) those forcing others who were raped by them into prostitution;

(5) those causing severe injuries, death, or other serious consequences to those who are forced into prostitution.

Those committing one or more of the above crimes, if the case is especially serious, are to be given a life sentence or sentenced to death, in addition to confiscation of property.

Article 358. Those organizing others for or forcing others into prostitution are to be sentenced to five to 10 years in prison in addition to having to pay a fine. Those falling in one or more of the following cases are to be sentenced to 10 years or more in prison or given a life sentence, in addition to a fine or confiscation of property:

(1) Those committing serious crimes of organizing others for prostitution;

(2) those forcing young girls under the age of 14 into prostitution;

(3) those forcing more than one person into prostitution and those repeatedly forcing others into prostitution;

(4) those forcing others who were raped by them into prostitution;

(5) those causing severe injuries, death, or other serious consequences to those who are forced into prostitution.



Those committing one or more of the above crimes, if the case is especially serious, are to be given a life sentence or sentenced to death, in addition to confiscation of property.

Those helping others organize people for prostitution are to be sentenced to five years or fewer in prison in addition to a fine. If the case is serious, they are to be sentenced to five to 10 years in prison in addition to being fined.

Article 359. Those harboring prostitution or seducing or introducing others into prostitution are to be sentenced to five years or fewer in prison or put under criminal detention or surveillance, in addition to paying a fine. If the case is serious, they are to be sentenced to five years or more in prison in addition to a fine. Those seducing young girls under 14 years of age into prostitution are to be sentenced to five years or more in prison in addition to a fine.

Article 360. Those engaging in prostitution or visiting a whorehouse knowing that they are suffering from syphilis, clap,or other serious venereal diseases are to be sentenced to five years or fewer in prison or put under criminal detention or surveillance, in addition to having to pay a fine.

Those who visit young girl prostitutes under 14 years of age are to be sentenced to five years or more in prison an addition to paying a fine.

Criminal Procedure Law of the PRC

Article 20. The Intermediate People’s Courts shall have jurisdiction as courts of first instance over the following criminal cases:

(1) counterrevolutionary cases and cases endangering State security;

(2) ordinary criminal cases punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty; and

(3) criminal cases in which the offenders are foreigners.

Those helping others organize people for prostitution are to be sentenced to five years or fewer in prison in addition to a fine. If the case is serious, they are to be sentenced to five to 10 years in prison in addition to being fined.







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