- Girl claimed being raped by foster father.
- The protagonist will be expelled from China.
- People use public opinion to manipulate the result of cases.
For five months, internet users in China have been waiting for the result of a special case. On April 9, Yantai Police Department announced that they were officially investigating an alleged statutory rape. A girl, Li Xingxing, claimed that her foster father, Bao Yuming, had been raping her for the past three years. The news heated up when people found out that Bao is a board member of the ZTE Corporation (he was kicked out right after the news).
According to Li, Bao adopted her in 2015, offering to give her a better life. Two months later, Bao raped her for the first time. She was just 14 years old. She didn’t quite understand what happened. After consulting a doctor, she reported the crime at a local police station. However, the police somehow archived the case. She called the police several more times over the years, but the police just kept ignoring the case. Until she took it to Weibo and got social attention.
The case stayed on the trending list for several weeks, especially on April 27. This was the same day three years ago that Lin Yihan committed suicide. Her autobiography, Fang Si-Chi’s First Love Paradise, depicted a story of a little girl being repeatedly raped by a teacher. Lin is now an icon for similar cases. The entire internet kept pleading for the authorities to give Li her justice.
Then came the twist. Bao posted “10 questions for Li” on Weibo. According to Bao, he and Li have been living together as a couple. After knowing that Bao couldn’t legally adopt Li, Li and her mom offered to let Bao marry her once she’s 18. Many other details provided by Li are also fake, to which he has clear evidence. Bao added, “you might deceive everyone at some moment, you might deceive someone all the time, but you can’t deceive everyone all the time.”
Informants confirmed that Li had changed her date of birth from 1997 to 2001. It means that when she moved in with Bao, she was already 18.
Suddenly, no one is sure what’s going on. Li becomes Hayley Stark from the US movie Hard Candy.
On September 17, Beijing Justice Bureau announced the result of the case. There’s no evidence indicating any type of sexual assault. However, since Bao is a citizen of the United States, based on current regulations, his lawyer’s license will be revoked. Also, the Ministry of Public Security has decided to expel Bao from mainland China for disturbing social order. The announcement doesn’t mention the consequence for Li.
The internet ignites easily. Things can go viral in an instant. After several similar cases with lots of twists, people are starting to reflect that maybe they should be careful when taking sides, especially before real evidence comes out. “Let the bullet fly for a while,” as the movie by Jiang Wen says.