When Rape is Not Rape

Today I read one of the most disgusting headlines I’ve seen in my life. I think this whole story speaks for itself, so here you have it.

Translation

Female teacher raped by government official, police say it’s not rape because he was wearing a condom

Recently, the topic “official implicated in the rape of a teacher” has been appearing on forums and has attracted a lot of attention. The person who made the post was the Huajuea City Middle School English teacher, 26-year-old Zhou Qin. She says that on May 17, 2011, the school principal ordered her to accompany 8 [government] leaders for drinks. After she was drunk, she was raped by the city rural land resources manager, Wang Zhonggui. What’s even more shocking is that according to what’s being said on the net, when Zhou Qin reported this to her local police station, the police said: “If he wore a condom, it’s not rape.”

Over the past two days, a reporter for the morning edition [presumably of the Southeastern News Net, where this was originally published] investigated.

Investigation Summary

The article is lengthy and, being at work at the moment, I don’t have the time to translate it in full. However, here are the main points that are made in the article, according to the reporter’s research.

That morning, the school had been holding a special government event, of which Zhou Qin was one of the hosts. After this, the teachers all retired to the government cafeteria to eat with the leaders. The teachers were all originally eating in a separate room, but the principal ordered Zhou specifically to go to the officials’ table and toast each of the eight men in succession, and she was also ordered to toast several other people including police officials who were also at the event.

Zhou Qin says that she was ordered to toast the officials repeatedly, around 15 or 16 times (generally speaking, each “toast” would be equivalent to around a shot of Baijiu, although there’s no mention of how big the glasses were.)

Zhou says that this actually happens regularly, the principal often orders her to drink with important guests during official functions.

A police official at the event said he did remember the principal yelling at Zhou Qin to drink with the officials, but that he could not recall precisely how much she had had to drink.

Because she was drunk, it seems Zhou Qin was put into a car with Wang Zhonggui, who she had never met before that day. She, or perhaps someone else [the article isn’t totally clear on this] asked that he take her home, as she was stumbling. But when she got to the car, she realized that she didn’t really know him, and that her home was less than 1km from the government cafeteria, and she began to refuse the ride. Wang insisted on offering a ride, and after a few more refusals, she took it, reasoning that as a teacher it would be best for her to drive, as if she walked some students might see her drunk.

But Wang drove her towards the Land Management offices, the opposite direction of her home. They picked up a coworker of hers on the way, and when they got there, Wang invited them to his office. Her coworker agreed, so Zhou followed.

In Wang’s office, there was a lower-level employee who Zhou knew personally, so she felt safe. But as soon as that person left, Wang locked the door, and began to molest Zhou. Zhou struggled, but was quite drunk and unable to put up much of a fight. She began to feel threatened, and said she had to go to the bathroom (Wang’s office has a private bathroom reserved for his use). Once there, she locked herself in.

But after she had been missing a while, Wang came pounding on the door. She stalled, saying she would be better soon, using the time to throw up several times and try to sober herself up. However, the booze got the better of her, and she passed out.

She awoke around 6 PM to find herself lying on Wang Zhonggui’s bed (his office also has a private bedroom, ostensibly for naps). She was alone, and completely nude. She vaguely recalled being dragged, and Wang squirting her mouth with something that seemed like water — later she would realize he must have climbed in through his bathroom’s window and unlocked the door from the inside

She realized that she had been raped and, hearing people downstairs but not wanting anyone to know about it, she quickly put on her clothes and climbed out the window for a quiet escape.

When she got home, she locked herself in her room and refused to speak or come out. Her mother recognized that this was very odd, and asked her what was wrong. After numerous attempts, Zhou finally told her “I was raped.”

Together, the two decided they should tell the police, and Zhou charged her boyfriend with going to the police station to report the crime.

The police investigated the Wang’s office-bedroom on the 19th, finding (among other things) a used condom. They told the reporter “This is proof that Wang Zhonggui and Zhou Qin had intercourse.”

However, the investigation remains unresolved, as the procuratorate maintains there is insufficient evidence, and have asked the police to provide evidence in addition to the used condom, other chemical evidence, and circumstantial evidence such as a broken window lock that matches Zhou’s story.

Zhou says that on the 18th, when she was first putting the story down formally at the police station, the person guiding her told her that “if he was wearing a condom, it’s not rape.” Zhou recalled that this person was none other than Zhong Xiancong, one of the men she had been ordered to toast the day of the rape.

Zhou says that Zhong also told her, “This is all something you did to yourself, and you don’t want to make it public now. Think of your reputation. I will keep it secret for you.” The reporter tracked Zhong down at the police station yesterday, and he said that he had told Zhou that there wasn’t much evidence of rape, and that additionally with a used condom rape would be very difficult to confirm. “That’s why I advised her to settle privately,” he said.

Many other people have also advised Zhou Qin to settle the case privately.

The reporter got Wang Zhonggui’s phone number from the police and has called him repeatedly for comment, but no one is answering his phone.

UPDATE: As one would expect, this and other news stories are drawing more attention to this case and many are discussing it on Weibo. To find relevant messages, try searching for terms like “毕节阿市” or “教师被强奸.”

UPDATE 2: This story seems to be accelerating fast on Weibo, where it’s now being RTed by dozens of people every minute.

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0 thoughts on “When Rape is Not Rape”

  1. Note: I will try to translate more of the article directly later; for the moment, this was the best I could do. Those interested in more specifics can read the original article, but these are pretty much all of the important points about the case. I just cut out a lot of emotional quotations and such.

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  2. Disgusting, awful, terrible… At many of the schools I have worked at teachers have been made to drink w/gov’t officials and act as entertainment. I know one who quit because the school was “treating her like a prostitute”. I don’t know how often rape actually occurs but everything leading up to that moment is part of the problem too.
    While we’re on cheery topics, rape also isn’t rape if it is two men. (http://thelinkpaper.ca/?p=3008) and (http://beijing.globaltimes.cn/society/2011-01/609065.html)

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  3. Hey Tom,
    Might be of interest, the US FBI’s definition of rape also states man on man isn’t considered rape. Nor is oral, anal, or poking someone with a foreign object. Circa 1929, really outdated stuff!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/30/fbi-rape-definition_n_855872.html

    “Rape” of people has always been under scrutiny and a re-volving definition, do recall this condom theory coming up in the US as well, along with married couples.

    Then you have Oregon, which would have come in handy for this woman: “Under Oregon law, having sex with someone who’s incapacitated by alcohol or drugs is not an opportunity — it’s a crime.”

    At least lawyers haven’t begun digging a witch hunt on her past. As seen with DSK, apparently the facts don’t really matter if the person you chose to force to give you oral sex seem to have a less than spotless past.

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  4. I don’t know if its in China’s best interest to be aiming for 1929 standards. Like you’ve pointed out those are terribly out of date.
    However men are protected by state laws against sexual assault, although some use the term sodomy instead of rape (this is changing). So male victims in the US are not without legal recourse. Their attackers are not tried for assault.
    I am not saying that the US has perfect laws, simply that there is a lot of room left for improvement in China.

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  5. There was also the case recently when a young male student was allegedly raped by an older man, but man-on-man forced intercourse isn’t considered rape.

    Someone wake me up when we exit the Dark Ages…

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  6. One wonders what Robert Herbold, who thinks China is the developed country and the U.S. the developing (see “The Dangers of a Quick Visit”) would make of this story. I’ve been a teacher for thirty years and never been told – or even asked – to toast government officials. Of course, I have never been an attractive young woman – apparently that is my good fortune.

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  7. @ Art: Fair point. However, I imagine your school has employed attractive young woman, and perhaps does now. Are they frequently coerced into drinking with government officials?

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  8. It is a good thing that this story is picking up in the Chinese blogsphere and perhaps that this issue should deserve a second look. But I rather not jump into conclusions and assume that the man is guilty like another Duke Lacross or DSK case.

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  9. To Anne H.
    You gotta love the CCP. Instead of enacting or enforcing laws so that this sort of sordid thing doesn’t occur, they instead try to curb any resultant discussion after the fact. Kinda like closing the barn door after the horses have bolted.

    And just to be clear so the FQ don’t work themselves into a lather, there is no implied suggestion that this problem is isolated to China.

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  10. I assume you’ve read “out of Mao’s shadow”:this kind thing happens all the time in the big Red especially with officials.

    The real question is: how the hell is the govt gonna block Sina Weibo too????;) good to see locals are talking about this! It’s not just stupid foreigners who “don’t understand Chinese culture”

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  11. @Anne

    I noticed that too. Well I guess they are going to “block” Sina after all. I wonder if the Sina CEO has any more moral compunction about this sort of thing than Robin Li [party stooge]??

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  12. There was also the case recently when a young male student was allegedly raped by an older man, but man-on-man forced intercourse isn’t considered rape.

    Someone wake me up when we exit the Dark Ages…

    ==================
    Your blatant racism aside, this is the opposite of the Dark Ages when both men would have been executed for intercourse with the same sex.

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  13. Also, how is that headline disgusting? That headline ends with “BULLSHIT!” (You do know the term “che dan,” n’est-ce pas?) So apparently the journalist agrees with you.

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  14. Kiesaat,

    There are probably thousands or more rape cases filed every year in china and outcomes are different. The chinese court system does take rape cases seriously and there are hundreds of men whom go to jail for it. I recall that there was a man whom went to jail for many years and then was finally was let go after the accuser recanted the charge of rape. Every judge is different and most of them would probably disagree about the use of condom does not matter in the case of rape. Besides, we only heard half of the story from the accuser so I would not jump into conclusions.

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  15. The count-down now begins to see how long it will take Custer to do a update 3, now that the perpetrator has been arrested and charged with rape.

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  16. @ keisaat: While I relish your ability to read everything I write in the worst possible, when I said the headline was disgusting I meant that it was disgusting because of what it tells us about, not because I thought the reporter was supporting the police’s decision.

    @ scl: Been pretty busy, but I’m working on a separate post about that. That said, you’ll probably hate it. Police blow off case and ignore it….month later, case gets hot on Weibo, media get a hold of it…suddenly, police take case seriously and arrest the rapist.

    On the one hand, great, the guy’s in jail, but it’s pretty clear the only reason is that people found out about it…good for justice in this case, but how many cases are there like this that don’t get this kind of press and nothing ever happens?

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