Xinhua News Agency

Man held over rape of petitioner at hotel

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 12:00am

A man from Henan was detained by police yesterday on charges of raping a young woman who reportedly came to Beijing to petition against what she believed was a wrongful college expulsion, state media said.

Xu Jian , a 26-year-old resident from Tongbai county, allegedly raped a woman in her 20s surnamed Li from Anhui at the Juyuan Hotel in Fengtai district on Tuesday last week, Xinhua quoted a spokesman with the Beijing Public Security Bureau as saying.

Last week, a Guangzhou-based newspaper reported that Ms Li had been raped by a security guard surnamed Xu after being sent to a guest house just six hours before by the Anhui liaison office in Beijing.

The Juyuan Hotel is a rundown guest house near the South Railway Station. A report by Southern Weekend said more than 70 petitioners from Anhui had been detained in the guest house when the rape took place.

Officers sent by local government officials to intercept petitioners from complaining about them to the central government tricked the petitioners into the guest house by claiming they would provide free accommodation and help them 'solve their problems'.

The Southern Weekend said the rape took place in the early morning. More than a dozen petitioners who slept in the same room as Ms Li heard her plead for help, but no one responded because violence was normal in the guest house. The petitioners realised several hours later that it was a serious crime, and about 70 worked together to break open the guest house gate and sought help at a nearby police station.

The press report was censored later, but it had circulated online and caused an outcry among netizens.

Xinhua said the suspect had fled after the rape, but surrendered to police in Tongbai county yesterday.