n investigation into the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl in Hunan Province has been re-opened in the wake of viral outrage at how quickly and brazenly local law enforcement swept the case aside when it was first reported last month.
According to a Btime.com report, the girl, given the pseudonym “Fenfen” was taken to a hotel in Hunan’s Anhua County for sex on April 27th by a 29-year-old man surnamed Li. That same day, Fenfen’s family reported to the police that their daughter had been raped.
However, after only a one-day investigation, police told the family that their case would not be registered because there was no evidence that a crime had been committed.
To explain how the rape allegation had been dropped so quickly, the director of the county police’s legal affairs office told Btime.com that officers had found that Fenfen looked older than her age and that what happened between her and Li was not rape, but simply a “hook-up.”
The age of consent in China is 14, quite young compared to most other countries. According to Chinese law, children under that age—like Fenfen—cannot give their consent for sex. However, a legal gray area does exist where the accused can claim that he was ignorant of the child’s true age and believed that she was 14 years old or older. To further complicate matters, Fenfen’s father has said that his daughter suffers from a mental disability.
After news broke on Sunday about how police had handled the case, outrage swept across Chinese social media, leading the local government to announce on Monday that a full investigation would be reopened into the alleged rape. So far, no new details have been released.