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Mother's labor camp suit to be heard

(China Daily)

08:55, February 06, 2013

Tang Hui, mother of a teenage rape victim, is interviewed by a journalist in Yongzhou, Hunan province, in August.(Xinhua/Long Hongtao)

A court in Hunan province is expected to hear a case in which the mother of a young rape victim is suing a local authority that put her into a re-education-through-labor camp.

The Yongzhou Intermediate People's Court is expected to hear the case within a "legal timeframe", according to the court and the plaintiff, Tang Hui, on Tuesday.

The court did not specify when the suit would be heard.

Tang had appealed for the court to report her case to the Hunan High People's Court, which can designate another intermediate court to try the case to rule out the possibility of interference from Yongzhou authorities.

However, the provincial high court has still designated the Yongzhou intermediate court to hear the case.

If Tang believes certain court staff may interfere in the case, she can ask them to avoid involving themselves in the suit, a Yongzhou court official said on Tuesday.

Tang, a mother who has petitioned for harsher punishments for those who were convicted of raping her daughter and forcing the girl into prostitution, demanded 1,463.85 yuan ($235) in compensation from the local re-education through labor authority for infringing on her personal freedom.

Tang's story has sparked public outcry for the reform of the re-education-through-labor system, which allows police to detain people for up to four years without an open trial.

She also demanded another 1,000 yuan for psychological damage and a written apology.

Last year, Tang campaigned in front of government buildings for harsher punishments for those found guilty of raping her then 11-year-old daughter in 2006 and forcing the girl into prostitution.

Tang also demanded that "two local police officers in Yongzhou be punished by law for raping my daughter".

Police took Tang to a labor camp on Aug 2 to serve an 18-month term for "seriously disturbing social order and exerting a negative impact on society" through her protests.

Her detention quickly set off a firestorm of public criticism. Under public pressure, Tang was released eight days later, as the authorities said her daughter, who turned 17 last year, was still a minor in need of her mother's care.

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