Petition mother Tang Hui clears hurdle in court appeal over labour camp imprisonment

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 May, 2013, 2:05pm
UPDATED : Monday, 20 May, 2013, 3:57pm

A Hunan court has accepted an appeal by a woman to sue local authorities after she was imprisoned for petitioning for harsher punishment against the men who raped her daughter.

The Provincial Higher People’s Court said on Sunday that it would review plaintiff Tang Hui’s lawsuit against Yongzhou authorities after she was sent to a local re-education through labour, or laojiao, camp for 18 months last August. Her verdict was overturned because of public outcry, and she was released after nine days in camp.

A previous appeal filed earlier this year demanding an apology and compensation was thrown out by the Intermediate People's Court, but Tang made another appeal with the the higher court on April 30.

Tang demanded that the Yonzhou “re-education through labour” commission apologise and pay back 2,463 yuan (HK$3,114) in “economic compensation” for her time spent there, Xinhua News reported on Monday.

“I am not appealing just to for the compensation. The 2,000 something yuan state compensation will be of help to my poor family but it’s really not a lot of money. The main reason for my appeal is to prove my innocence,” Tang told the South China Morning Post on Monday.

“They said I blocked traffic, disrespected officials and obstructed justice from being carried out by the court; I didn’t do any of this. I will not tolerate being framed for things that I haven’t done.”

In October 2006, her then 11-year-old daughter was kidnapped, repeatedly raped and forced into prostitution before being rescued three months later.

A Hunan court sentenced two of the abductors to death, four others were given life sentences, and one was handed a 15-year term.

Tang petitioned for harsher punishments but she was detained for “seriously disrupting public order” and “causing negative impact on society” and sentenced to 18 months re-education through labour.

A specific date for the review has not been announced by the court but Xu Liping, Tang's lawyer, said the case will be a particularly hard one to win.

"In terms of normal legal proceedings, this case should be an easy one to win. But at this point, there is too much local level [politics] involved so getting the apology and compensation will be difficult," Xu told the Post.