Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Legitimate Rape" in US, "Temporary Rape" in China

A firestorm was raging when Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for senate in Missouri, said in an interview released this weekend that he did not support abortion for rape victims because:
"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
By speaking out, he revealed the hidden disdain to women in many of his fellow Republicans, including the Vice President candidate, the congressman Paul Ryan, who, together with Akin, had sponsored bills to make abortion illegal, including the cases of rape and incest.

It sounded so bad that many prominent Republicans chastised him and demanded him to quit from his senate run.  Yet, what he did was only breaking the Republican's unspoken "don't ask, don't tell" rule.  They would rather to make the abortion illegal in the sly, quietly, without talking about it and without attracting any attention.  Akin was bad because he told people that the emperor wore no clothes.

Well, Republicans are generally outraged and embarrassed, as they should be.  However, they could be consoled somewhat if they had been paying attention to the world stories.

It seems that the great rivalry between China and US is extending to the territories of misogyny and stupidity, when people in power in both countries trying to parse the subtle definition of rape.  Recently, there were rape cases reported in China, but the accused rapists, often officials of certain ranks, got off the hook with bizarre excuses - such as, the accused wore condoms, therefore, it should be called rape; or the accused was excused of committing only "temporary rape" without lasting harm.

One murky ground is statutory rape.  Was it legitimate?  Would Akin, Ryan or Romney give us an answer?

As in China, if the offender is an official, then, the statutory rape could be explained away as sleeping with under-aged prostitutes.  This happened!  And it was not even a statutory rape.  It happened was several young school girls were raped by school official but the official was only slapped on his wrist for "sleeping with under-aged prostitutes".

The assault and insult on women did not stop there.

Tang Hui, a mother of underage rape victim, is interviewed by Xinhua reporter after being released from a labor camp in Yongzhou City, central China's Hunan Province, Aug. 10, 2012.

Chinese official news agency Xinhua reported on 11 August 2012 that:
The petitioning mother of a rape victim began her journey home on Saturday after being released from a labor camp in central China's Hunan province, saying she will continue her pursuit of justice.

Tang Hui, who was sent to the camp after campaigning for harsher punishments for those who were found guilty of raping and prostituting her then 11-year-old daughter, bowed in gratitude before a group of reporters.

"I will express your love to my daughter," Tang said before boarding a coach with her husband in the city of Changsha. "She was very happy to hear about my release."

Tang Hui was sent to the Reeducation Through Labor* Center in the city of Yongzhou on Aug. 2 to serve an 18-month sentence for "seriously disturbing social order and exerting a negative impact on society" after she petitioned for justice in front of local government buildings.

The news of her detainment quickly set off a firestorm of public criticism. Tang was released on Friday, as the center said her daughter, now 17 years old, is still a minor and requires the mother's care.
Such outrageous could happen here too, if Republican extremists like Akin and Ryan had their way.  Is it really hard to imagine that a young girl, being raped and impregnated and sorted an "illegal" abortion and was imprisoned and punished thus?

* Reeducation Through Labor, a form of extra-judicial punishment in China, and a convenient tool for the administrators to maintain order and control. Sometimes, such punishment is more severe than the penal code required.  Wikipedia described it this way:
Re-education through labor (RTL) (simplified Chinese: 劳动教养; traditional Chinese: 勞動教養; pinyin: láodòng jiàoyǎng), abbreviated (simplified Chinese: 劳教; traditional Chinese: 勞教; pinyin: láojiào) is a system of administrative detentions in the People's Republic of China which is generally used to detain persons for minor crimes such as petty theft, prostitution, and trafficking illegal drugs, as well as religious or political dissidents such as unregistered Christians or Falun Gong adherents. Sentences typically span one to three years, with the possibility of an additional one-year extension. Re-education through labor sentences are issued as a form of administrative punishment by police, rather than through the judicial system. While incarcerated, detainees are often subject to some form of political education. Torture, sometimes resulting in death, has also been reported in labor camps. The re-education through labor system has been in place since 1957 and was subjected to minor reforms by the Chinese government in 2007. Estimates on the number of RTL detainees on any given year ranges from 190,000 to 2 million. China Daily in 2007 estimated that there were a total of 310 re-education centers in China at that time.

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