Tang Hui, the mother of a rape victim whose campaign for justice is also seen as a strong call to end the notorious labour camp system, remains defiant and is working on an appeal to the Hunan provincial high court.
A week ago, Tang, 40, lost a bid for compensation and an apology for her loss of freedom in labour camps, despite huge public sympathy for her case.
She received a written copy of the verdict on Thursday and said in a phone interview: "I will appeal over my labour camp case. I was really mad at the ruling [on April 12]."
"But I will not give up petitioning for my daughter," said the Yongzhou mother.
Tang was sentenced last August to 18 months of re-education through labour for "seriously disturbing social order and exerting a negative impact on society" after petitioning for harsher punishment of the seven men who in October 2006 forced her daughter, then aged 11, into prostitution. She was released nine days later on humanitarian grounds amid widespread outrage.
Tang had sought the death penalty for all seven men. At their sentencing last June, two received the death sentence, four life terms and one 15 years' jail.
The Yongzhou Intermediate People's Court rejected her administrative lawsuit against Yongzhou's re-education-through-labour commission in which she sought 1,463.85 yuan (HK$1,820) compensation for her nine days in the camp, 1,000 yuan for psychological damage and a written apology. The commission had rejected her claim for compensation in November.
Xu Liping , one of Tang's lawyers, said an appeal would be filed before May 4 and hopefully the hearing would be held within two months in the provincial supreme court.
"We will definitely win [the appeal] from the view of the rule of law, from the evidence and the facts. But it's still hard to say what the final verdict will be," Xu said.
Tang has been to Beijing to petition over her daughter's case 23 times and to the provincial capital, Changsha , more than 100 times since October 2006 when her daughter was kidnapped, raped and forced into prostitution.
Each time she travelled to petition, local government teams would follow to intercept and hold her back, a recent Beijing News report said. But Tang said yesterday that she would keep petitioning the state supreme court, which is reviewing the death penalties of the rapists.
Petitioners are seen as a threat to social stability on the mainland and Tang is now the "most wanted" petitioner in the eyes of government officials, the paper said.
Tang yesterday confirmed she had received goodwill messages from local officials, saying she had earned respect despite losing her court case.
The Beijing News quoted an official from her town government as saying they sent the messages hoping Tang would win the case so they did not have to spend money on sending people to intercept her.
Tang said: "No matter what happens, I still want to go to Beijing [to petition]."