06/09/2009, 00.00
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Almost heroine status for young woman who killed official who tried to rape her

Deng Yujiao, 21, killed an important official after he assaulted her for rejecting his sexual advances. Internet is swamped by messages of solidarity for the humble woman who reacted to the violence of a public official.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Deng Yujiao, a 21-year-old pedicurist from Badong (Hubei), killed a Deng Guida, a major town official in Badong county on 10 May, wounding another. The young woman said she was asked to perform special (sexual) favours and tried to defend herself against rape after she refused to comply. For many in China she has almost acquired heroine status, the symbol of a population that has grown tired of widespread corruption in government.

Deng Yujiao’s predicament began when she tried to defend herself against an official who wanted sexual favours and who pushed her onto a sofa when she refused. In fighting back she grabbed a fruit knife and fatally stabbed Deng Guida.

Her arrest on murder charges sparked a public outcry because many saw her as acting in self-defence against officials who were abusing their privileges.

Last week police in fact dropped murder charges, saying she had acted in self-defence, albeit with “excessive force”.

Now she is in a psychiatric hospital but those who have visited her say she is doing well.

A group of women human rights activists went to Badong to determine what happened, but they were followed by police throughout as if there was something sinister about their trip.

The case has generated a wave of sympathy across the country and the web has been swamped by messages of solidarity and sympathy for the “daughter of the people” who fought back against an important official.

Women’s groups, human rights organisations and lawyers have also come out in her favour.

Newspapers initially covered the incident but fell silent once the government decided otherwise out of embarrassment for another scandal involving public officials. 

For years Chinese leaders have pledged zero tolerance against corruption. Arrests have been made and trials involving people in high places.

But for experts the war against corruption in China can only be won if citizens’ rights are protected against the frequent abuses by corrupt officials.

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