Desperate mother tried to set herself on fire in Hong Kong's July 1 march

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 10:50am

A mainland mother was released on bail yesterday after apparently trying to set herself alight at the July 1 march to win justice for her daughter.

Ran Chongbi doused clothes she was holding with alcohol and was trying to set them on fire using a lighter when she was stopped by Liu Weiping, a human rights activist who was taking part in the march.

Police took Ran, who escaped injury, from Victoria Park to hospital where she was examined before being taken into custody for suspected disorderly conduct in a public place, according to police.

She was later sent back to hospital again due to poor health.

Speaking from her hospital bed yesterday, the 38-year-old told the South China Morning Post: "I tried to burn myself there to get justice for my daughter."

Ran's daughter was raped at five years old in Dongguan, Guangdong, in 2008.

The 50-year-old man who attacked her was jailed for six-and-a-half years. After Ran appealed in 2009, the sentence was increased to seven years.

Ran appealed to the local court to have the sentence increased further but was rejected.

Liu Weiguo, a Chinese human rights lawyer based in Shandong, said: "The judgment was absolutely unfair."

He added: "According to criminal law in the People's Republic of China, perpetrators who rape girls under the age of 14 should be jailed for more than 10 years."

Ran said yesterday: "I don't have money or power, but the Guangdong government has. It has hired gangsters to persecute us."

Ran said that her daughter has been suffering ill-health as a result of the attack while she herself has been left jobless as a result of the government harassment and persecution.

"I don't have the money to cure my daughter," said Ran. "And her whole life is destroyed."

Ran's Hong Kong visa runs out on July 5 and she fears what repercussions she faces back home.

Liu Weiping, the activist who stepped in to stop her actions on Monday, said: "If the international society doesn't pay attention to her, she will face stronger persecution after going back."

Ran has been told to report back to police in early September.