Thursday, June 4, 2009

China Fires Two Officials in Sexual-Assault Case


BEIJING -- China's government moved to address an outcry over the arrest of a hotel employee for killing a government official who her lawyers say was trying to rape her, firing two local officials connected with the case, which has become a lightning rod for public anger over abuse of power.

The woman, Deng Yujiao, a 21-year-old waitress in a hotel bathhouse, has been released into a form of home confinement.

A government notice said a police investigation found that two officials, Huang Dezhi and Deng Guida, from a township investment office, accosted Ms. Deng in the lounge of the Fantasy City bathhouse and demanded "special services," a euphemism for sex. When she refused, they pushed her around and insulted her. Ms. Deng picked up a knife, stabbed Mr. Deng to death and injured Mr. Huang, according to the notice, issued on Sunday by the Badong county government in central Hubei province.

Ms. Deng then called a police emergency number using her mobile phone and gave herself up. She initially was arrested on suspicion of murder. However, the notice said police believed it was a case of "excessive self-defense." Her lawyers have said she was defending herself from a rape attack.

Mr. Huang has been fired from his position as vice director of the investment office and expelled from the Communist Party. He is now under detention. A third official, Deng Zhongjia, who was with the other two at the time but is not alleged to have committed any crime, has also been fired, the notice said. The three Dengs are unrelated.

The case has prompted an outpouring of public sympathy for Ms. Deng, expressed in a torrent of messages posted on Internet chat sites. It has hit a raw nerve among many Chinese angered by high-handed behavior among government officials.

According to the notice, police have handed Ms. Deng's case to prosecutors, who will decide whether it should go to trial. She is now with her family, the notice said.

—Sue Feng contributed to this article.

Write to Andrew Browne at
* JUNE 2, 2009

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