The Virgin Prostitute

This news report is on the lurid side, but it does illustrates the dilemmas faced by a country that is attempting to live under the rules of law.

The police report (via Secret China News):

On 17:00 hours of January 10, 2004, we entered Harbor Bay Recreational Center in the city of Ninjing.  We went into the shampoo shop first.  We showed our police identification and then we proceeded to the second floor.  In the room that is furthest down the right hand side of the stairway, we observed a male lying on top of a female ..."  The two officers then took the male and the female back to the police station where their statements were taken down.

The male named Wang signed the following statement: At about 16:50 hours of January 10, 2004, I was walking down the street and saw the shampoo shop.  I felt a little bit cold so I entered.  A short girl gave me a back rub and then I engaged in sexual intercourse with her twice.  We had agreed upon a price of 100 yuan but I was arrested before I paid her.

The female known as Xiao Yan signed a statement consistent with the above as well as including a lot of lurid details about the two acts of sexual intercourse.

Based upon the above evidence, the female known as Xiaoyan was sentenced to seven days in jail with a fine of 5,000 yuan.  The male university student named Wang was also punished and has since then been dismissed from school on account of this immoral act and returned to his home in Shaanxi province.

Is that all there is?  Far from it.

On January 19, 2004, Xiaoyin was released from the police station after serving her time.  Her elder cousin was quite upset and asked her: "Did you do it with the guy?"  She asked again, "Did you do it?"  Xiaoyan said, "No!  I'm still a virgin."

After the Chinese New Year's holiday, her cousin took Xiaoyan to the gynecology department of the Morning Light hospital in Nanjing, where the doctor examined her and said: "Her hymen is intact.  This girl has never had sexual intercourse before."  (For the record, when the television program "Direct from Nanjing" covered this story, they brought Xiaoyan down for another check-up at the Nanjing Women's Health Hospital and confirmed the medical finding.)

On March 2, Xiaoyan petitioned the public security bureau to get to the truth, to erase the bad record of the prostitution charge, to ask for economic compensation and to punish those who abused their power.

On April 7, the Nanjing public security bureau made the technical determination that the case of Xiaoyan did not fall into the jurisdiction of the particular police station.  Therefore, the jail term and the fine were both rescinded.  Based upon the law on compensation, Xiaoyan would receive 53 yuan per day for a total of 371 yuan.  The 5,000 yuan fine was returned in total.  The matter of the truth was therefore sidestepped.

On April 16, Xiaoyan filed an administrative complaint in a Nanjing People's Court to ask for a judicial order to restore her reputation via a public apology.  Included in the evidence was the documentary proof that Xiaoyan was still a virgin and therefore the two alleged acts of sexual intercourse could not have taken place.

On June 15, the court denied the admissibility of the particular evidence with the comment that "the documentary proof that Xiaoyan was still a virgin was not directly relevant to the case at hand."  Legally speaking, that may be true.  Logically speaking, anyone with an iota of commonsense would think this is absurd and therefore make the inference that the two police officers must have abused their power.  The case is still ongoing, but the absurdity of the situation has generated lots of interest on the Internet.

The heart of this case must be: what happened during the interrogation of Xiaoyan that ended with the signed statement.  Here is her own re-telling of the events:

It was after 4pm that day and a customer came in for a back massage.  It was cold that day.  He took off his coat and I put a blanket on him before giving a back massage.  This was his third visit.  I was just giving a back massage.  Nothing else happened.

This went on for about 20 minutes and then that policeman came up.  He walked lightly and I did not hear him.  There are no doors on the second floor, and the beds were separated by glass.  So he appeared out of nowhere.

He screamed at me.  He screamed obscenties at me, and he slapped me a couple of times.  I told him that nothing happened.  But he said that he saw everything.  He handcuffed me.  The policeman then took the waist belt off the customer so that his pants fell down.  He whipped the customer once with the belt and then he tied his hands together with the belt.  Then they took us back to the police station.

On the way, I told the policeman that nothing happened but he called me a liar.  When we got to the police station, they handcuffed me to the stairwell.  I got there after 5pm, and it was after 2am before they were ready to talk to me.

When I told the policeman again that nothing happened, he yelled at me.  He slapped me and my head flew against the wall.  I started to cry because it hurt so much.  Then another policeman came in and said, "We are all very tired and we sympathize with you.  If you get the statement done quickly, we can let you go home."

They never asked me what happened.  The policeman just took a pen and started writing.  They just keep asking me over and over again about my name and hometown.  Sometimes they would stop and asked me strange questions such as whether I was pregnant or had venereal diseases.  Then they made me sign the statement.

I told them that I was still a virgin, but they said I was lying.  The policeman said, "I don't care if you are a virgin or not, as long as you sign the statement."

I never read what was inside the statement.  My education ended at elementary school since my family was too poor to allow me to continue.  I only saw that the first page contained my name and hometown.  They gave me all sorts of documents and I just signed at the bottom, "The above written text is exactly the same as I said, Zhang Heiyan."

Throughout the whole time, I was handcuffed.  When someone sent in some food for me, the policemen would not remove the handcuffs to let me eat.  My right hand was bleeding because the handcuff was so tight.

Then they released me on January 12 after my boss paid what I found out later was a 5,000 yuan fine.  They told me that my sentence was one year, but they took special care of me by getting it reduced to seven days.

I come from a very traditional village.  Even divorce is unheard of.  My parents are heartbroken over this.  I cannot go back to the village unless I can get my name cleared.