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Why is the child bride unlikely to get the justice?   [Copy link] 中文

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(Global Times) Lawyers say that a Chongqing woman who claims her uncle sold her at 13 to a man who raped her and forced her into marriage will find it "impossible" to get the justice that she wants through the courts.
"They ruined my life, don't I deserve an apology?" 29-year-old Ma Panyan was quoted as saying by the West China Metropolis Daily on Sunday. She also said on Sina Weibo that she will fight for her legal rights until her death, "no matter the result of the case," said Ma.
Her defiant posts came after the Wushan county government under Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality said Friday that it cannot convict her uncle, Ma Zhangsong, or her ex-husband, Chen Xuesheng, of abduction or statutory rape due to a lack of evidence.

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Ma Panyan and her two sisters were raised by their uncle in Wushan's Shuanglong village, after their mother killed their father and fled in 1997, the local government said.

In 2001 her uncle sold her to Chen, who paid 4,000 yuan ($582) for her and the men signed a contract which said she would have to marry Chen when she reached 20, the legal marriage age.

A relative of Ma Zhengsong told the media that he sold Ma Panyan out of poverty.

Ma Panyan told the West China Metropolis Daily that Chen took her to East China's Fujian Province to look for work after Spring Festival in 2001, when she was 13 and Chen first raped her there.

Ma Panyan gave birth to a girl in October 2002 and had a boy when she was 19.

The Wushan government says that while sex undoubtedly took place in early 2002 - when Ma Panyan was 14 and over the age of consent - it cannot be proven that Chen had sex with her before then.

Chinese law stipulates that any man who has sex with a girl under 14 has committed rape, and can face a sentence ranging from three years in prison to death.

Regardless of her age at the time of the initial intercourse, Ma Panyan maintains that Chen forced her to have sex in her teens.

Ma Panyan's sisters were also allegedly sold by Ma Zhengsong, and were both mothers before the age of 16, The Beijing News reported on Tuesday.

The Wushan government said that Chen and Ma Panyan registered as married at the Shuanglong civil affairs bureau in 2007, when Ma was 19 and therefore could not legally marry.

Liu Zhonghui, the official who registered the two, received a disciplinary warning in June 2016 for violating regulations, said the government.  

After Ma Panyan's case reported on in May 2016 and she opened a Sina Weibo account to tell her story, she divorced Chen in June 2016.

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Government inaction

Zhuang Zhiming, a lawyer based in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, said on Tuesday that it is impossible for Ma to find the justice she is seeking through legal means.

Rape charges require proof that sexual contact occurred, said Zhuang, adding that collecting evidence in Ma Panyan's case is impossible due to the time that has elapsed.

Ma Panyan told the West China Metropolis Daily that she reported the rape to village police after she got back from Fujian in 2001, but they declined to get involved as her uncle claimed Chen had already married the 13-year-old. These claims were corroborated by a local police officer, who told The Beijing Times in June 2016 that they received a report and sent her for a medical examination.

However the Wushan government has claimed that there is no record of such a report or any examination.

As for Ma Zhengsong, Zhuang said there's not sufficient evidence to prove he is guilty of "abduction" in court.

Wushan government maintained that no abduction took place as it cannot be proven that Ma's uncle sold her for profit.

The government said that Ma Zhengsong and Chen signed a contract with the supervision of village officials and Ma Panyan's consent.

One element to securing a human trafficking conviction is proving a profit was made, according to Zhuang. "But 4,000 yuan was not a huge amount of money in 2001," he added.

However, Ma Panyan told the West China Metropolis Daily that her uncle sent her to live with Chen's family without asking her opinion.

A Shanghai-based lawyer who has followed the case, said that Shuanglong government should be blamed for allowing Ma Zhengsong to give his niece to Chen. "The government should have shouldered the responsibility of finding Ma Panyan a home if her guardian could not afford to look after her anymore, besides the fact that the local government allowed the two sides to sign a contract which said she would marry Chen, which obviously violated the law," said Zhan.

He added the government should also be held accountable for doing nothing when it learned Ma Panyan was pregnant at 14.

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Post time 2017-3-3 23:44:54 |Display all floors
linda_sun Post time: 2017-3-2 10:45
Ma Panyan and her two sisters were raised by their uncle in Wushan's Shuanglong village, after their ...

Social issue!
Legal could guide but may not solve it.

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Post time 2017-3-3 23:49:19 |Display all floors
linda_sun Post time: 2017-3-2 10:49
Government inaction

Zhuang Zhiming, a lawyer based in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, said  ...

Please note that the law is to protect but could not do much once the door of home is closed.
Legal cannot intervene privacy. Hope it is understood.
Difficult area to ascertain.

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Post time 2017-3-4 06:31:19 |Display all floors
GhostBuster Post time: 2017-3-3 23:44
Social issue!
Legal could guide but may not solve it.

It's simple if true

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