Female teacher raped by local official. Police: Not if wearing condom.
Update: On July 13, owing to media coverage and public pressure, Wang Zhonggui was arrested on rape charges.
An English teacher at a junior high school in the town of Ashi, Bijie Region, southwestern Guizhou province, was made by the school principal to drink liquor with eight local officials. After she got too drunk, she was sexually assaulted by Wang Zhonggui, the chief of the local bureau of land and resources management. When she reported it to the local police afterwards, the police dismissed the case after investigation by saying “Wearing a condom (while having sex) does not count as rape.”
Zhou Qin, 26, graduated from college in 2010 and got a teaching job at an elementary school in the town of Ashi, before she was transferred to the junior high school to teach English.
On the morning of May 17, Zhou Qin supposedly had two English classes to teach. However, from 9 a.m. the school cancelled all morning classes for an event promulgating legal knowledge. At noon after the event was over, the school treated all participating officials and teachers to a banquet at the school dining hall. Zhou Qin was ordered by Dai Liping, the school principal, to sit with the officials and toast each one of them with at least one cup, and Wang Zhonggui two extra cups.
Zhou Qin did not know that honest looking Wang Zhonggui would be the start of her nightmare.
After Zhou Qin came to the junior high school, she was made by school principal Dai Liping to entertain and toast guests on many occasions. Out of protection of her job, she complied each time, despite the fact that she would be drunk after drinking even four cups of liquor. On May 17, the liquor she forced down her throat was high-proof. She emptied altogether 15 cups, which was way beyond her tolerance.
As Zhou Qin staggered out of the dining hall, Wang Zhonggui, the land and resources bureau chief, pulled off his car to the road side and beckoned her in.
At first, Zhou Qin thought her place is just a kilometer away, or 10 minutes by walk, so she declined. However, Wang Zhonggui insisted on giving her a ride. Zhou Qin thought that it would make her look bad if students and acquaintances saw she, as a teacher, got so inebriated. She got into his car.
However, Wang Zhonggui took Zhou Qin to his bureau instead of her place, which is in the opposite direction. Wang explained that someone at the bureau had some paperwork for him to sign. Zhou believed that Wang would drive her back home afterwards. On their way, Chen Hai, a colleague of Zhou Qin at the school, also got into the car and went to the bureau, which further assured her that there would be no problem.
“They walked in front of me. I leaned on the wall to support myself and slowly climbed upstairs,” Zhou Qin said. At Wang’s office, she chatted with her colleague Chen Hai for a while before she got too dizzy from the alcohol and rested in the couch, waiting for Wang to finish his business and drive her home.
Ma Ke, the person who asked Wang for signature, actually knows Zhou Qin personally. Both he and Chen Hai told the reporter that they remember Zhou Qin was so intoxicated back then that she lisped out her words and lost her bearings.
After Ma Ke left, Wang latched the door of his office and began mauling Zhou. Zhou realized the danger she was in, excused herself into the bathroom inside Wang’s office and locked the two doors from inside that separate the bathroom and the office area.
A few minutes later, Wang Zhonggui knocked on the bathroom door and asked Zhou Qin what took her so long. Zhou, scared and nonplused, answered, “Wait a minute.” She mustered up all her strength to lean against the door. She thought to herself that stalling for some time may help remove the effects of alcohol.
Contrary to her expectation, she felt increasingly sleepy and powerless. In the mean time, Wang Zhonggui used a wooden ladder to climb into the bathroom on the second floor through a window from outside the office building. After he failed to open the bathroom door from the inside, he climbed out of the window again, went down the ladder, returned to the office, and broke the bathroom door lock from the outside.
At that moment, Zhou Qin could not even open her eyes. She could vaguely remember that Wang dragged her out of the bathroom and forced water into her mouth, or to be exact, she could not tell if that was pure water.
At 6 p.m. when Zhou Qin woke up, she found herself lying naked in Wang’s bed. There was no one else in Wang’s bedroom, which is next to his office room. Zhou heard people talking downstairs. Fearing that people might find out, she buttoned up her clothes, tidied her tousled hair, and snuck away.
At first, Zhou Qin was too scared to call the police. In a Chinese region as less developed as Bijie, a woman’s chastity is her most treasured value. She feared that her reputation would be ruined once and for all and that she would disgrace her family. However, on second thought, she realized that if she remained silent, similar tragedies might happen again.
She was torn between the two thoughts when her mother, Li Xinping, observed her pain. Pushed by her mother, Zhou Qin spitted it out, “I was raped.”
The news was a complete thunderbolt to Li. The mother and daughter cried profusely in each other’s arms. Then, they both decide to call the police and bring justice to Wang.
At 7 p.m. on May 18, Zhou Qin told the story to her boyfriend, whom she had been dating for over half a year, and asked him to call the police. At 2 p.m. on May 19, the police and the forensic investigated Wang’s bedroom.
A police officer told the reporter that a used condom was found in the backyard of the bureau. Toilet paper and bed sheet were also gathered for a lab test. “These can show that Wang did have sexual intercourse with Zhou Qin,” the police said.
However, the police stopped the investigation on the grounds of lack of evidence. “The inspector told me that wearing a condom does not constitute a sexual assault.” Zhou Qin recalled that the inspector, Zhong Xiancong, at the public security bureau of the town of Ashi, was at the banquet table the day she was raped. She actually toasted him too.
In fact, Zhong Xiancong is not the only person who tried to convince Zhou Qin to settled it in private. A man surnamed Zhou who works at the bureau approached her and her mother for the same reason. The chief of the land and resources bureau in the town of Puyi, also administered by Bijie Region, also contacted Zhou Qin’s uncle. All requests were rejected by Zhou Qin and her family.
Zhou’s mother Li Xinping said, “She has been defiled. Now there are people who are spreading the rumor around that my daughter did it in order to push herself forward, to be transferred to a better job position and to live in a house that belongs to the bureau. I want to clear my daughter’s sullied name through the legal procedure. I want them to know that even though my family is poor, money cannot buy a person’s dignity, no matter how big the amount is.”
After the incident, Zhou Qin never returned to the school. The class she taught has seen several English teachers. Students cried to her over the phone, imploring her to return. But she can’t.
“Now the class is graduating from the junior high school. I may never teach them again,” Zhou said. She had no idea when investigation into her case can have a result.