On Friday, Chinese officials released a woman who'd been sent to a labor camp because she'd campaigned ardently for harsher sentences to be meted out to the seven young men convicted of abducting, raping and prostituting her then-11-year-old daughter in 2006.
The AP reports that officials probably bowed to public pressure from bloggers and intellectuals who thought Tang's treatment was, to say the least, appalling. Last Thursday, police in Yongzhou city had ordered Tang to serve 18 months in a labor camp for "disturbing social order and exerting a negative impact on society" by protesting on behalf of her daughter in front of government buildings. Authorities have released a week later after reviewing Tang's appeal and determining that she had to be home to care for her 17-year-old daughter. Officials also said that police were taking another look at Tang's claim that police had falsified evidence in her daughter's rape case.
Tang's arrest unleashed an unusually loud protest from even the state-run media, which questioned the Yongzhou police department's rationale for arresting Tang. "The Yongzhou police listed a series of Tang's 'illegal' activities disturbing social order," read a Tuesday editorial in the state-run Global Times, "including appealing in front of the local courts, blocking the way of officials and making a scene at a judicial branch, and so on. But these activities didn't severely harm the public's interests."
Since 2008 when the first round convictions were handed out to the guilty men, Tang has been fighting for harsher sentencing. The Hunan Provincial Higher People's Court gave the men tougher sentences in June, including the death penalty for two of the men, life in prison for four others, and 15 years in prison for another. Tang, however, continues to insist that all seven men be given the death penalty.
China frees woman detained for fighting rape case [AP via San Fran Chronicle]