A businessman was executed in the central Chinese province of Henan on Tuesday for the rape of 25 minors – including 14 under the age of 14 – over a two-year period. The execution of Zhao Zhiyong, 49, was the latest development in a case involving more than 30 victims – all minors – from four middle schools in Weishi county. A notice that the sentence had been carried out against the former chairman of Tianyuan Flour Products in Weishi county was posted outside the Kaifeng Intermediate People’s Court. The court found that Zhao coerced a woman named Li Na into finding young girls for him between June 2015 and January 2017. Some of the victims in turn went on to recruit more girls for Zhao. Rape case shocks elite Chinese university The case came to public attention in April 2017 when a police brief, which gave sketchy details of the offences, was leaked online. Few details of the crime emerged until state news agency Xinhua reported in December that Zhao had stood trial in the Kaifeng court in October and had been sentenced to death. Li received a suspended death sentence and her husband Liu Hongyang – who chauffeured the young girls for prostitution and raped some of them – was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. Another man, Zhou Hexin, who also had sex with some of the girls, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. All of the defendants except Li appealed, but their applications were rejected by the Henan Higher People’s Court in December, Xinhua reported. Fake doctor jailed for 6 years for raping female patient in China More than 40 crimes in China’s criminal code, including rape, can carry the death penalty, but it is also possible for the sentence to have a two-year reprieve, after which the sentence is usually commuted to a life imprisonment if no other serious offence is committed. Sex with girls younger than 14 is regarded as rape, with punishment ranging from 10 years in jail to the death penalty. Tsinghua University law professor Zhou Guangquan told the People’s Court News in January that the sentence showed the court’s firm stand on severe punishment for sexual crimes against young girls and would “maximise the prevention effects of criminal law on such special crimes”.