Law

Dueling statements in the Deng Yujiao murder case

JDM090524hotel.jpg
The scene of the crime: Dream City at Xiongfeng Hotel

Yesterday saw new developments in the case of Deng Yujiao, an employee of a leisure center in Hubei who stabbed a goverment official to death. According to Deng, she was acting in self-defense against a man who was sexually assaulting her, but the police and government have been advancing the idea that she was emotionally unstable and killed the official unprovoked.

Late last week, Deng's lawyers complained that they were being stonewalled by police as they attempted to collect evidence of sexual assualt. Then yesterday, the Baodong County government issued a statement announcing that Deng's lawyers had been dismissed for incompetence.

The lawyers fired back with their own statement questioning the government's actions. Here are the two statements, courtesy of Hecaitou, who posted both of them to his blog:

Badong County government spokesperson releases latest developments in Deng Yujiao case

Badong County government press spokesperson Ouyang Kaiping has released the latest developments in the Deng Yujiao investigation.

For several days, the police have increased their efforts to investigate the Deng Yujiao case. The spokesperson's release said that because the Dream City at the leisure center of Xiongfeng Hotel was suspected of being connected to the sex trade, police had summoned hotel manager He Dehong in accordance with the law. Further questioning of Deng Yujiao and witnesses and a return to the scene of the crime proved that there was no truth to the allegation that Deng had been raped. Deng, her mother, and her family were very upset that their lawyers had been publicizing the "Deng Yujiao rape case" without regard for the truth. Deng's mother Zhang Shumei has now stated that she has dismissed the lawyers, reason being that the lawyers had not carried out their duties, had not provided any material legal assistance, and had diverged from their role as advocates. An investigation revealed that the "third party" who came to public attention in the Deng Yujiao case was Deng Zhongjia of the financial offices of Yesanguan, Badong County. Police determined that he had not broken the law.

In addition, now that the Deng Yujiao case has come to the attention of the public at large, to insure transparency, timeliness, accuracy, and authoritativeness of information, Badong County government press spokesperson Ouyang Kaiping will be responsible for issuing information and reporting on the latest developments in the case.

Deng's (former) lawyers responded with a blog post:

A statement on the Deng Yujiao case

Early this morning, we read a press release on the Changjiang Badong website that claimed that Deng Yujiao's mother Zhang Shumei had declared that she had dismissed the two of us as legal counsel. We were shocked. Ever since Zhang had been taken off by Yesanguang police station director Tan Jing on May 21, straightforward communication had been difficult, and we were entirely unaware as to whether we had been dismissed. In addition, for this statement to come directly from the mouth of the government was highly irregular and very suspicious.

At 10:40 am, Zhang Shumei telephoned us to say that what the government press release said about her statement was false. She had not decided to dismiss us, and she asked to see us in person. We waited, and at around 4pm, Zhang suddenly called us to ask to dismiss us as legal counsel. She was unwilling to talk to us in person.

Prior to this, the media reported that we had discovered possible evidence of "rape" in this case. These were false reports. We brought up "sexual assault," which would constitute the crime of "attempted rape," not "rape" as it is colloquially understood.

We wish to express our strong indignation at the improper actions of the government, and we express our gratitude to our seniors and colleagues Zhang Sizhi and Pu Zhiqiang for their Letter to Xia Lin on the Deng Yujiao case.

Beijing Huayi Law Offices
Xia Lin, Xia Nan
2009.05.23

In the letter from Zhang Sizhi and Pu Zhiqiang, the two well-known activist lawyers express their support and reassurance to Deng's lawyers.

Update (2009.05.25): An Internet analysis of the situation, translated by ESWN.

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There are currently 22 Comments for Dueling statements in the Deng Yujiao murder case.

Comments on Dueling statements in the Deng Yujiao murder case

A very interesting case with some interesting developments.

The fact that the government has issued a statement that says (as above) "Further questioning of Deng Yujiao and witnesses and a return to the scene of the crime proved that there was no truth to the allegation that Deng had been raped."

Note the use of "proved."

One wonders what the police role is in this case: To investigate and prosecute alleged crime(s)? Or to serve as pre-trial publicists for the prosecution?

The bottom line is that Ms. Deng is going to have a very hard time proving that she acted in self-defense (even if she did), because:

*** Such "leisure" centers are often a venue where men pay money to get sexual services from female employees. A typical Chinese city has thousands of such venues, despite the fact that such business is illegal.

*** The men who frequent such venues assume female employees are not in a position to say "No" to their demands for sexual services, and some may even get violent over a refusal. The dead man may well have done so, but the nature of Ms. Deng's work may mean her co-workers were not in the room at the time.

*** Women who work in such venues are regarded as the dregs of society with little credibility in the eyes of society or the law.

This case is a very sensitive one, because it touches on several taboos in China: the sex industry (China denies it has one), a man quite possibly engaged in trying to purchase sex (China generally prosecutes the sex worker, not the consumer), and the right of a woman to refuse to engage in sex (Chinese society doesn't openly recognize such a "right" when it comes to masseuses).

Keep up the good coverage, Joel!

Anyway, it is a kind of improvment, there is still a very long long long way to go.

Good luck Deng yujia.

Good luck to all of us.

Good points, Bruce. What strikes me most about the government statement is that it appears to be exploiting the idea that rape is something shameful that needs to be covered over rather than a crime whose perpetrator needs to be exposed, as if the family would be fine with having a murderer in their midst but are offended that anyone would go so far as to besmirch Ms. Deng's name by suggesting that she had the temerity to be raped.

A network of evils.

I just wonder why big bosses like Hu and Wen can still sit idle.
Isn't this incident naughty enough to arouse their interests?

I just wonder why big bosses like Hu and Wen can still sit idle.
Isn't this incident naughty enough to arouse their interests?
-----------------------
What do you suppose they can/should do?

Then yesterday, the Baodong County government issued a statement announcing that Deng's lawyers had been dismissed for incompetence.

compare china's "standard" for establishing the minimum competence of counsel above with that of U.S. in Strickland v. Washington. each sits at the opposite extreme of absurdity.

as for the chinese standard, however, i admit that it probably will take a far more competent attorney to exculpate Deng Yujiao in china than it would in the states.

"This case is a very sensitive one, because it touches on several taboos in China: the sex industry (China denies it has one), a man quite possibly engaged in trying to purchase sex (China generally prosecutes the sex worker, not the consumer), and the right of a woman to refuse to engage in sex (Chinese society doesn't openly recognize such a "right" when it comes to masseuses)."

Bruce: where did you get these ideas about what "China" or "Chinese society" does or doesn't do?

And what nonsense is "Chinese society doesn't 'openly recognize'"? Are you Martian?

To those of us who would gleefully generalize about "China" or "Chinese society", as Bruce did in the 1st post, let me point out the very, very obvious: why has this case been getting so much attention? Does this level of popular outrage support the claim that "Chinese society doesn't openly recognize such a 'right'(of refusing sex) when it comes to masseuses"?

There does seem to be a fair amount of ignorant condescension and downright malice in some self-righteous "China observers".

Orpheus = Badong County government spokesperson, Ouyang Kaiping.

"There does seem to be a fair amount of ignorant condescension and downright malice in some self-righteous "China observers"."

Chill man...not everyone will assume he actually knows what "China" or Chinese" society" thinks on this matter considering how vast the country is, at least give some of us the benefit of the doubt that we take things with a pinch of salt when comments start jabbering on about "the Chinese" or "Chinese people" this and that.

@Orpheus: There does seem to be a fair amount of overly sensitive splitting of hairs in some self-righteous "China defenders".

This case is (obviously) getting so much attention because it deviates from the "norm": ie the sex trade IS widely unacknowledged, there IS a huge stigma attached to it, and police attempts to cover up and protect the powerful are NOT usually so obvious.

In other words, it's notable because it goes against the grain, the EXACT grain that Bruce was talking about.

It hurts the feelings of the Chinese people that justice cannot be served

"...it's notable because it goes against the grain, the EXACT grain that Bruce was talking about."
I cannot but admire this nimble acrobatics of entrenched prejudice, however moronic it is.
Do you know what the world "outrage" in my post means, or are you just pretending?
And I suppose an inability to read Chinese beyond 3rd-grade level lends your thoughts on Chinese cyberspace that much extra insight?

@AntiOrpheus: wow, that's how long it takes to return under a different alias? Or is it "The Bigots of the World Unite" Day?

@Orpheus:

"I cannot but admire this nimble acrobatics of entrenched prejudice, however moronic it is."

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Are you actually saying that Chinese society is open and honest about the sex industry? Are you actually maintaining that it is commonly understood in China that a sex worker can still be raped, even if she's already been paid, even if she's already notionally "agreed" to the act?

These "features" of common Chinese attitudes are so widely commented upon by Chinese and I need not elaborate, surely.

As for your comments about my "alias", I must admit you've got me there. We should all follow your example on this, I think, and choose aliases that clearly identify us. Oh wait...

Or were you alleging that I'm "really" the same person you incoherently attacked above?

@Joel:

Isn't it time you published the IP address next to the screen-name and date, to nix this sort of tiresome name-calling?

IP addresses aren't particularly useful given the proliferation of proxies and widespread use of web cafes. Anyone who wants to troll could still do so, and paranoid tiresome name-callers would be able to toss around allegations of malicious proxy-use. So that's not gonna happen.

@AntiOrpheus: first of all, do you actually know what "name-calling" means? For you used it not quite right in the context.

And your harangue above just showed once again what remarkably original reading comprehension you have. Read my posts again, and see if there is any ground for your multiple "are you actually..." rhetorics.
Against Bruce's silly generalization that "Chinese society doesn't openly recognize such a 'right' (of a woman to refuse to engage in sex) when it comes to masseuses", I pointed out that if that claim were true, there wouldn't have been so much public outrage at this case among Chinese netizens. Somehow this clarification irks some people no end. Yes, it does seem to be the "The Bigots of the World Unite" Day.
Thankfully I am not blessed with the kind of childishness of some commentators that would lead me to err in the opposite direction by over-generalizing about Chinese in any exaggeratedly positive light. So shove your "actually", for you are doing nothing but setting up imaginary targets, a sorry habit of the intellectually lazy.
As in any society, some Chinese are more enlightened, some are benighted and foolish. As an American, I have to say that the comments of some fellow Americans at this and various other China forums have not exactly supported a sense of overall moral superiority of my people. Likewise, if I had generalized about Europeans and Aussies based on this thread so far, I am afraid it just wouldn't be all that fair, would it?

@slowboat: "Orpheus = Badong County government spokesperson, Ouyang Kaiping."
- I suppose this kind of predictable character assassination passes for wit and originality in your shabby little world of meager intelligence and fair-mindedness. Thank you, genius.

@Martin: aren't you the "moderator"? Then moderate, instead of "name-calling" (see, A.O., that's the proper usage) by using such words like "paranoid". Old enough to develope some discipline, shall we?

Then how about a login system?

All the cool blogs have them!

;-)

I must say, though, I don't find your objections to publishing IPs particularly convincing. Sure two people COULD be in the same Internet cafe browsing Danwei (!) sure people COULD go through a different proxy to give the appearance of not being a sock-puppet. Then they'd have to disguise their writing style, too, of course.

But even a low barrier is a barrier. And this one is trivially easy to implement.

Anyway. Off topic for sure.

I wonder if I'll get another spray from Orpheus? Or was it a drive-by flaming?

"Or was it a drive-by flaming?"
- You wish.

"I wonder if I'll get another spray from Orpheus?"
- You betcha.

Speaking of "flaming"; you know, that's a bit rich from some guy who came to a blog with which he had obviously been familiar (and therefore likely to have already got existing user name(s)), saw a post that he found disagreeable, then logged on under a provocative new alias to label his opponent as "China defender" (was this supposed to be insulting?), fire off a few rounds, then (srprise, surprise) further label the retorts as "flaming" and wish they would simply go away.

Great wisdom and commendable courage, my man.

Go on and live in your little bubble, away from the "horrifying reality" of this big, bad "Chinese society" of a wicked homogeniety. Amen.

Orpheus makes some good points, but I'd appreciate it if everyone could keep a lid on the "spray."

Danwei doesn't have a moderator by the name of "Martin," so I'd say that some more care could be taken in actually reading the content of each others' comments. We're all old enough, I think.

My bad, Joel.

Orpheus to me: moronic, bigot, 3rd-grade level, shove [it], Go [...] live in your little bubble, sock-puppet, coward.

Me to Orpheus: incoherent, overly sensitive.

@Joel: I know your job is to appear to be fair and open handed, but who are the "everyone" who need to "keep a lid on the spray"? Besides the obvious singular example, that is?

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