GUIZHOU, April 9 (Xinhua) -- The trial of seven people, including four government officials, a legislator, a teacher and a taxi driver, on child rape charges at a court in southwest China's Guizhou Province, ended early Thursday, and the verdict will be announced at a later time, according to court sources.
The closed-door trial started at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the People's Court of Xishui County. It adjourned in the afternoon and continued until 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
"The verdict will be announced at a 'selected date'", said an official of the court. He refused to give more information.
"Because the case involves the underage, we decided not to give an open trial," court president Yu Deping said on Wednesday.
"It's a case with a very bad impact on society and we'll strictly abide by laws to handle it," he said.
Among the accused are official Li Shouming in charge of the county migration office; land and resources official Chen Mengran; social security official Huang Yongliang; legal affairs official Chen Cun; legislator Mu Mingzhong; vocational school teacher Feng Zhiyang; and taxi driver Feng Yong.
Li was removed from his post before the trial, and Mu, also a manager of a local real estate company, was suspended from his qualification as a legislator, said Li Ling, secretary of the Xishui County Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
"The other government officials will also face other severe punishments after the trial is over," he said.
The suspects are accused of raping more than 10 teenage girls, all primary and secondary school students in Xishui County, from October 2007 to July 2008, said Yuan Yunqin, secretary of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of the CPC Xishui County Committee.
Local police started an investigation into the case on Aug. 15 last year when a victim's mother reported to them that her daughter had been raped, Yuan said.
"Police broke up the case at the end of last October and arrested seven suspects later," he said.
According to China's criminal law, the jail term for rapists is from three to 10 years, but child rapists can be sentenced to life, or even death, if they know the victim is under 14.