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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.