A Chinese woman who was highly regarded as a philanthropist who adopted over 100 children in her ‘Love Village’ orphanage has now been sentenced to a 20-year jail term for fraud involving her adopted kids.
Aside from the two-decade prison sentence, Li Yanxia was also fined 2.67 million yuan ($387,900) at a recent public sentencing along with 15 others, including her boyfriend Xu Qi.
Also known as Li Lijuan, the 54-year-old was detained last year amid accusations that she received a fraudulently large number of donations over the past 21 years. The amount was reportedly used as the main funds for her welfare house.
According to a post by Wu’an City People’s Court on Weibo, Li was charged with using her orphanage “Love Village” to commit several instances of fraud and gang-related crimes.
Earlier reports alleged that Li blackmailed 70,000 yuan ($10,997) from a company who wished to pass a fiber-optic cable above her Love Village welfare house. She also extorted a hotel and a hospital for nearly 300,000 yuan ($47,131).
Her orphanage, situated in Wu’an city, Hebei Province in northern China, has since been taken over by another childcare facility, Global Times reports.
Meanwhile, Li’s boyfriend Xu received a sentence of 12 and a half years in prison, in addition to a fine of 1.2 million yuan ($174,600) for disturbing social order, extortion, fraud, and intentional injury. The rest of the defendants were sentenced to imprisonment ranging from one year to four years. Some of them were also fined.
Li’s portrayal as a loving mother to more than 100 orphans in recent years has now become now a subject of rebuke online for many Chinese netizens.
Some of them have pointed out that the punishment she received was not severe enough.
“No length of time is too long for her to be in prison as she took advantage of others’ sympathy,” a commenter shared.
Featured image via The Paper