Report on rape case false, says woman

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 July, 2011, 12:00am


Controversy escalated this week over a news report about the alleged rape of the daughter of a former Guizhou deputy mayor, as the official People's Daily condemned the report as 'untrue', sparking a retort from the alleged rape victim's family.

The alleged victim sent a fax on Thursday to Hong Kong's Phoenix Weekly magazine, saying: 'The party's newspaper is not paparazzi. Why didn't it protect the victim's privacy? It was the first one to spell out my name.'

She wrote: 'Whether the rape took place should be a legal matter. Was People's Daily's high-profile conclusion on the case an attempt to try to influence the investigation?'

The saga began with a report in Phoenix Weekly on July 6 of the alleged rape in January 2009 by Zhou Shili, then a senior member of the Guizhou provincial committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The report said the alleged victim had been reporting the incident to police and petitioning the government for two years, yet Zhou, who the woman alleges told her he had strong and extensive connections in Guizhou, remained untouched.

The magazine said the woman's father, Tian Wanchang, a former deputy mayor of Liupanshui city in charge of public security affairs, had petitioned in Beijing since January last year for his daughter's cause to be heard.

In subsequent interviews with other media, Zhou, who is married, denied raping the woman but said they were having an affair.

On Wednesday, the People's Daily published an article headlined 'The news report of former Guizhou deputy mayor petitioning due to daughter being raped was untrue'.

The state organ's article did not name Phoenix Weekly but referred to the content of its report in detail.

It quoted a statement by the former deputy mayor to the Liupanshui Communist Party committee that he had been sick since 2007, was not fully aware of what happened and had never petitioned on the matter. It also quoted a conversation between city officials and the woman's mother, who denied her husband had petitioned in Beijing.

It quoted a provincial police officer as saying that due to the woman's late report there was insufficient evience to support a rape claim.

The woman and her mother, a security official in Guizhou, faxed Phoenix Weekly two signed declarations on Thursday rebutting the People's Daily article. 'The People's Daily report about the city officials' interview with us was untrue,' the mother, Long Liying , said.

Some online users have noted that by January last year, when Tian reportedly petitioned in Beijing, he would have retired.

An officer at the Guizhou provincial public security office said the case was under investigation and he could not disclose further details. Zhou declined to comment over the phone.