Zhou Yan, 17, before the attack.
A 17-year-old student was doused with petrol and set on fire in her home in Hefei, Anhui province after she rejected the advances of a classmate.
Zhou Yan suffered second- and third-degree burns to 30 per cent of her body after the attack by Tao Rukun, 17, in a case that has captured nationwide attention because Tao is the son of civil servants in the province.
A microblog posted on leading Chinese social network Sina Weibo by Tao’s father, Tao Wen, who works with the auditing bureau in the provincial capital was shared tens of thousands of times.
In it, Tao Wen apologised for the “irreparable hurt” caused by his son to Zhou and her family, and for not having taught his son properly.
Tao also added that he would do whatever he can to aid in Zhou’s recovery. His son has been placed behind bars and he would accept the court’s final judgement, he said in the post.
Another public letter circulated on Sina Weibo that is attributed to Li Cong, the mother of the victim, tells a different story.
Li claims that Tao’s parents had been pressuring her to sign the papers to secure his bail and reneged on earlier promises to take complete care of Zhou’s medical bills.
Tao’s father says he has already paid 338,600 yuan in hospital bills for Zhou, on top of a 10,000 yuan advance to Zhou’s mother to help her tide through the period.
He also says that Li had asked for 10 million yuan in compensation as well as a 2.8 million yuan apartment, claims that Li has rejected.
Li has since quit her job at Unilever to take care of her daughter, and the family now depends on the 1,500 yuan monthly salary of her husband, according to local media reports.
If convicted, Tao may face ten years behind bars.
Zhou Yan has been discharged from hospital and is now recuperating at home.
Zhou’s mother, Li Cong, says all she wants is a “just legal environment”:
Public letter by Tao’s father, Tao Wen:
Zhou’s mother, Li Cong, with her side of the story: