Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tiger Parents Jailed over Witness Tempering

Peng Tang of Iowa City was arrested on charges of rape and kidnap.

Not much details have been released by the police. Based on reporting of local media and posts on Chinese websites, Tang contacted a female Chinese student's apartment after reading her sublease advertisement on a local Chinese forum. Tang bound and raped the woman while she was showing him the room on March 29, 2012. Police said Tang arrived at the apartment at 8:00 pm, a little late for the appointment he had made with the woman for between 7:30 and 8:00 pm. Tang asked to view the bedroom. After entering the bedroom, Tang closed the door behind them and locked it. He grabbed the woman's hands behind her back and handcuffed them. Tang then stuffed her with a towel. After raped the woman and forced oral sex, Tang made her to take expressive poses with no clothes on. Tang took many pictures, with her face showing. He then threatened the woman that if she went to police or anyone else, he would post these photos online. "Don't do stupid things," Tang told the woman. "Today, you played along well, and we were happy."

Police recovered a set of handcuffs and keys, more than 10 pars of women's underwear, four bras, two bra straps, a knife, and Viagra pills from Tang's residence.

Iowa City Path reported it was unclear whether Tang was a Chinese national, because he was not registered as a student at the time. Posts on Chinese forums said the man was kicked out by University of Iowa.

Both of Tang's parents, 57 year old Xufan Tang and 49 year old Li Qiao, were arrested and placed behind bars after they were found to have made attempts to bribe the victim to change her story. After arriving on April 5, 2012, the couple of Qingdao, Shangdong Province, sought help from the local Chinese Church of Iowa City.

The parents obvious unlawful conduct, might have come from misunderstanding of the differences between the Chinese and American judicial systems. In China, the court would encourage the family of an alleged offender to contact the victim and offer financial assistance. The financial assistance would often be cited in the final ruling as a factor of consideration in criminal sentencing. Although Chinese laws also prohibit asking witnesses or victims to provide false testimony, but that is usually a natural consequence after a private deal is reached on the amount of financial assistance to the victim. The revision to the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was approved one month ago, recognized agreement on civil compensation as a factor for reduced sentencing in criminal procedure. This negotiation on compensation could be initiated by one of three parties: 1) the offender and the victim; 2) families, friends and attorneys of both sides; 3) the court.

On Friday, April 13, Tang entered a plead of not guilty on charges of first-degree kidnapping by a written arraignment.

Xi Jinping visited Iowa on his trip to the US two months ago.

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